Peters & Peters

BNP Paribas climate case could prompt wider litigation against banking sector

In February, three French NGOs, Friends of the Earth France, Notre Affaire à Tous and Oxfam France, launched proceedings in France against BNP Paribas, Europe’s largest bank, in connection with its financing of fossil fuel polluters and thus failing to comply with its obligations under the French corporate duty of vigilance law, which came into effect in 2017.

Dan Hyde spoke to Global Trade Review about the development.

Dan noted that all countries do not have as robust measures in place as France to prevent and mitigate environmental risks in companies and supply chains. For example, in the UK, the legislation is “minimal and piecemeal”, Dan said.

Dan also spoke about the fact that the UK authorities have recently intensified the fight against “greenwashing”, commenting that “these types of actions are only likely to proliferate in the future, especially given the English courts’ recent emphasis that the common law will be adaptable and be able to rise to the challenge of climate or greenwashing litigation”.

Corporates should therefore, he warned, not leave supply chain diligence too late. Otherwise, they could find themselves embroiled in litigation or, at least, facing public and investor disapproval.