Deutsche Bank - Sustainability rhetoric a fig leaf for continued fossil finance

Press Release
Frankfurt | May 26th, 2021
  • Bank is a leading financier of global coal, oil and gas expansion
  • ESG announcement lacks crucial steps to reduce bank’s fossil finance
  • Bank will arrange IPO of German oil and gas company Wintershall DEA

One day ahead of Deutsche Bank’s annual general meeting, the Environmental NGO Urgewald and the Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany are criticizing the bank’s ongoing investments in coal, oil and gas expansion, undermining its own recent climate announcements

In its July 2020 release of updated fossil fuel policies, Deutsche Bank announced it would analyze its portfolio by the end of 2020 and set reduction targets accordingly. However, according to the bank’s 2020 non-financial report and as stated at the bank’s Sustainability Deep Dive on May 20th, the bank now intends to publish the CO2 footprint of its portfolio by the end of 2022, delaying crucial action by two years. 

In its new Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, the International Energy Agency (IEA) outlines a pathway to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, in which “there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development, and no new coal mines or mine extensions are required.” Putting money into coal, oil and gas projects could be „junk investments“ according to Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA. Yet, Deutsche Bank is arranging Wintershall Dea’s upcoming initial public offering. The company is planning to increase its oil and gas production by 30% just over the next two years. 

Since the Paris Agreement, Deutsche Bank has also provided loans and underwriting services to other oil and gas clients, such as Shell ($3.9 billion), ExxonMobil ($1.3 billion), BP ($2.4 billion) and Total ($1.2 billion). [1] 

The list of Deutsche Bank’s coal clients is just as illustrious. As revealed in a recent study published by Urgewald, Deutsche Bank is one of the key financiers of the mining giant Glencore with $1.12 billion in loans and underwriting services between October 2018 and October 2020. Other coal companies Deutsche Bank has provided significant financing to include Adani ($235 million), the company behind the highly controversial Carmichael mine, Top Frontier Investment Holdings ($217 million), the company expanding the Philippines’ coal plant fleet and Europe’s largest CO2 emitter RWE ($209 million).

Regine Richter, Finance Campaigner at Urgewald, said:
“Deutsche Bank aims to paint itself as a champion in sustainability. However, as evidenced by its sizable and continued investments in fossil fuels, the bank is still miles away from the action needed to match the severity of the climate crisis. Delaying crucial exclusion steps while the impacts of the crisis are worsening in front of our eyes shows that the bank still prioritizes profits over people and planet.”



[1] The data was collected as part of research for the Five Years Lost Report: - a detailed overview of Deutsche Bank’s financial services provided to companies covered in the report is available upon request



    Bild Anprechpartner   Regine Richter

    Regine Richter
    Public Bank Campaigns
    regine [at]
    +49 (0)170 2930725

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