French banks ploughing billions into green and sustainable loans

French banks have doubled its lending of green and sustainable loans in 2022, reaching a total of €216 billion
French banks have doubled its lending of green and sustainable loans in 2022, reaching a total of €216 billion Copyright  Markus Spiske
By Greta Ruffino
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French banks have doubled the amount of green and sustainable loans given out in 2022, reaching a total of €216 billion, as announced by the Banque Populaire Caisses d'épargne (BPCE) Chairman Nicolas Namias.

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As the 28th climate conference unfolds in Dubai, the spotlight is on France's commendable strides in sustainable finance. 

Nicolas Namias, Chairman of the French banking group BPCE board, and President of the French Banking Federation (FBF), revealed that French banks have witnessed a substantial surge in green loans, doubling the outstanding amount in 2022.

This substantial leap, totalling a staggering 216 billion euros, marks a significant increase from the 100 billion euros recorded in 2021, according to data from the professional federation. 

Setting an example in green financing

Addressing the spectrum of green financing, Namias stated on Classic Radio: "Today, every green project finds its financing," underscoring the accessibility of funds for both individual initiatives, such as energy-efficient home renovations, and larger-scale projects, including the development of offshore wind farms by industrial players.

Criticism often hovers over banks for their association with fossil fuels through financing, investments, or consulting services. 

However, in anticipation of COP28, commencing in Dubai, French banks are taking strides to align their policies with global environmental goals. 

Namias highlighted that French banks are setting an example globally in financing green energies, emphasising their commitment to a sustainable future.

BNP to stop funding metallurgical coal

Last week, Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) Paribas declared a significant move by announcing the discontinuation of financing for metallurgical coal, primarily used in the steel industry. 

Société Générale also affirmed its commitment to sustainability by clarifying commitments made in September, including a dedicated section on the decarbonisation of the commercial real estate sector.

Namias acknowledged the complexity of the transition to sustainable practices, stating, "The challenge of the transition is an issue that is both massive, urgent, and complex." 

He emphasised the massive investments required, the urgency to bring about change in a system rooted in the industrial era, and the complexity of aligning with diverse objectives.

As French banks lead the way in green financing, their proactive measures signal a collective commitment towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious financial landscape. 

With COP28 under way, the spotlight on these advancements is likely to fuel further global conversations on sustainable finance and its pivotal role in addressing the challenges of climate change.

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