Intesa Sanpaolo adopts a new policy on environment and climate change. Disappointment from Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon

Intesa Sanpaolo yesterday released its own updated commitments on the environment and climate. New policies that result weak and insufficient according to Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon.

More specifically, Intesa Sanpaolo, banking group leader in Italy and one of the top-30 largest at world level, has updated its policy to reduce lending to coal companies and introduced first but limited exclusion criteria to financing unconventional oil&gas.


“The new commitments of Intesa Sanpaolo result too vague and insufficient, even more in the light of upcoming international appointments like CoP26 and the G20 where Italy will play a key role in setting the level of ambition”, affirmed ReCommon and Greenpeace Italy. “In addition, they have been preceded by consistent loans to mega fossil fuel projects and they only apply to lending and not to all the other financial services of the bank – like investments – where the fossil fuel exposure of Intesa Sanpaolo is very high. We’re worried that this exposure will continue for a long time, right in the opposite direction to the urgency and ambition required by the climate crisis”, they conclude.

Some good news on the coal sector, where Intesa fixed the phase- out from coal mining by 2025 and commits to immediately stop financing those companies planning to expand coal-fuelled installed capacity or are engaged in the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

However, these positive steps forward are offset by relevant gaps like the absence of a phase out date from coal- fired power plants, despite the scientific community clearly indicated 2030 as the deadline to exit from coal in OECD countries and 2040 globally.

Furthermore, the policy encourages the transition from coal to gas, presented as clean though potentially more harmful than C02 in terms of climate-changing emission.

As for the so-called unconventional oil&gas sectors – tar sands, shale/tight oil&gas, operations in the Arctic and the Amazon region, Intesa Sanpaolo confirms its greenwashing practices.

Despite the positive note of ending financial relation with these sub sectors by 2030, the lack of more explicit exclusion criteria suggests the possibility of new financing for those oil & gas companies active in the exploration, production and transport of fossil fuels in these such sensitive region. Furthermore, as already experienced for the financing of the Tuzla coal plant in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Intesa Sanpaolo confirmed its involvement in the mega fossil gas project Arctic LNG- 2, in the Russian Arctic, just a few days before the release of the updated climate policy.

It is also worthy to mention the recent loan provided by Intesa and other Italian banks to Bonatti, oil&gas international contractor involved in high – impact projects such as Coastal Gaslink, for an amount of 137 million euros.

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