Peters & Peters

Climate campaigners sue BNP Paribas over fossil fuel finance

Three French NGOs – Oxfam France, Friends of the Earth France and Notre Affaire à Tous – are bringing proceedings in France against BNP Parisbas, one of Europe’s largest financial institutions, in connection with its financing of fossil fuel polluters. The trio is arguing that the bank is failing to comply with its obligations under France’s corporate duty of vigilance law, which came into effect in 2017.

This is the latest development in a space that is rapidly evolving and the risks that businesses now face in respect to ESG enforcement action being taken against them is unrecognisable from even 12 months ago.

Maria Cronin spoke to The Guardian about the development, pointing out that there have been warning signs of the financial sector’s vulnerability to climate litigation and enforcement.

She explained that, although civil court cases might still be far and few between, more are coming to the fore as concerned parties are trying to hasten the progress of businesses towards net zero, and courts may well end up being receptive to interpreting the law in novel ways.