One week ahead of its annual general meeting, Deutsche Bank has released a statement on ESG (environmental, social and governance) topics. Regine Richter, Finance Campaigner at Urgewald, commented:
„Reducing fuel usage of company vehicles, offering sustainability training to employees, joining appealing sounding initiatives – these steps may all be well and good, but they are also an embarrassing testament to the fact that the bank’s understanding of sustainability is stuck in the 90ies. The above measures are easy to integrate and don’t harm anyone. However, they won’t have a significant impact either. The fact that the bank has recognized how much it can benefit from sustainable business is not ambitious but purely opportunistic. With such sham climate ambitions the bank falls far short of addressing the severity of the crisis.
Simultaneously, the bank is clinging to fossil business. For example, Deutsche Bank is arranging Wintershall DEA’s upcoming IPO. While scientific evidence clearly indicates a need to phase out fossil fuel extraction, Wintershall DEA is planning to increase its oil and gas production by 30%. The list of Deutsche Bank’s fossil fuel customers is long and contains illustrious names such as ExxonMobil, Glencore and Chevron.
Something Deutsche Bank could actually have a significant impact with is introducing stricter exclusion criteria for fossil fuel companies. The set of criteria the bank released last year are still too weak, especially compared to those of international competitors. Supporting fossil clients with a Paris-aligned transition also means clearly communicating at which point the bank is going to cut off financial support for laggards.“