Protect VIP called out BNP Paribas, a French international banking group, for its continued financing of Shell’s LNG import terminal in the Verde Island Passage during the bank’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Paris, France attended by Protect VIP Convenor Father Edwin Gariguez last May 16.
The BNP Paribas AGM engagement is part of the Protect VIP’s tour of European banks and financing institutions such as include Standard Chartered, Barclays, HSBC, ING, Deutsche Bank, DWS, and UBS, all of which finance fossil gas projects in the Verde Island Passage.
Goldman Prize Awardee Fr. Gariguez was given the opportunity to speak during the AGM in which he questioned BNP Paribas being the second largest financier of Shell which plans to build a Php 3.5B (USD 6M) liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Batangas, one of the five provinces that surround the Verde Island Passage.
“I want to ask, given the urgency of the climate crisis and with BNP Paribas' net zero commitment, how does BNP Paribas justify investments and funding in fossil gas projects, especially in key biodiversity areas like the Verde Island Passage?” asked Fr. Gariguez.
BNP Paribas Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility Laurence Pessez answered that “financing gas infrastructure in the Philippines is not part of our strategy.”
“We come here as truth-tellers representing fossil gas-impacted communities in the Philippines and yet we are told lies. They don’t expect us to believe that our demands would be satisfied with such a simplistic answer. The only strategy that BNP Paribas must make is to stop funding fossil fuel projects that contribute largely to climate overshoot and step up its climate action,” said Gariguez.
BNP Paribas is also facing the world’s first climate lawsuit against a commercial bank over its massive support of fossil fuels and contribution to climate change. BNP Paribas is Europe’s largest and fifth worldwide funder of fossil fuel expansion.
“Despite the heckles and shouts from the shareholders, we shall remain steadfast in our call to banks to immediately renounce all support, direct or indirect, for the expansion of all fossil fuels. They tell me to go home but to this, I say: fossil gas has no space in the Verde Island Passage and is not welcome in our home,” said Fr. Gariguez.