Intesa replies to investors: no intention to improve its climate and environmental commitments

We publish the response provided by Intesa Sanpaolo to ReCommon and other investors who, on April 28, the day before the Shareholders’ Meeting, sent a letter to the group’s management expressing concern about the bank’s significant involvement in the fossil fuel sector and soliciting urgent improvements to its climate and environmental commitments.

Intesa Sanpaolo’s response to investors is disappointing from several points of view. First, the group’s ESG & Sustainability team, who sent the reply, does not provide any opportunity to deepen the asks highlighted in the letter, cutting off any future potential for dialogue with relevant investors such as ACTIAM, a top Dutch asset manager with assets under management of 20 billion euros and with an important shareholding in Intesa Sanpaolo.

Equally unsatisfactory is the feedback provided by the group regarding the concerns reported by investors in the letter and the related requests for improvement.


Intesa Sanpaolo merely refers to the answers provided by the banking group to  the pre-shareholders’ meeting questions sent by ReCommon. Well, from these answers – in Italian, without any effort to report them in English to facilitate the understanding of the answer to investors – Intesa does not express any intention to improve its climate policy with respect to the main questions set out in the letter.

On coal, on the request to set a phase out date for the whole coal sector (mining & coal power) the group answers as follows:

(Translation from italian)

As part of its strategy to fight climate change, Intesa Sanpaolo promotes sustainable finance tools to support the transition of its customers to a low-carbon economic model; a complete phase-out by 2025 from coal mining is planned. Moreover, as part of the 2022-2025 Business Plan, a significant reduction in relative emissions is planned in the Power Generation sector.

The phase out from the mining front is therefore confirmed, but no intention is expressed to phase out the coal-fired power generation sector, that, with the combustion of coal, directly affects the atmosphere.

Again, on the Arctic, about the request to stop financing on shore projects, a sector where Intesa Sanpaolo is highly exposed, the answer is as follows:

(Translation from Italian)
Intesa Sanpaolo has defined a specific policy regarding the non-conventional oil and gas sector, which establishes exclusions and limitations in this area; the oil and gas sector as a whole falls within those for which the among those for which the Group has defined specific targets for the reduction of financed emissions, aligned with Net Zero, for 2030.

No intention emerges to improve the current policy on non-conventional oil&gas, as instead clearly stated last year in the answers provided to ReCommon on the occasion of 2021 Shareholders’ Meeting. “In agreement with the investors who signed the letter, ReCommon decided to publish Intesa Sanpaolo’s reply in order to highlight the group’s lack of willingness to deepen the engagement and to revise upwards its commitments on climate and the environment, starting from those urgently required by climate science, such as the total exit from the coal sector by 2030”, commented by Daniela Finamore and Simone Ogno of ReCommon. “With our campaign work we have often published data that report how the first Italian bank is highly exposed to the fossil fuel industry. Formally solicited by a group of investors, the banking group has shown no intention to reduce this exposure, confirming itself as the top fossil bank in Italy.

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