Banks operating in Belgium invest billions of euros in companies with a huge negative environmental impact and which violate human rights, according to FairFin, an NGO, after reviewing the Dirty Profits 3 report published by the international group Facing Finance on Tuesday. BNP Paribas invests 13 billion euros in 25 controversial companies, and Deutsche Bank, 15 billion euros. Belfius bank has decreased this type of investment to 165 million euros, adds the NGO. Dirty Profits 3 studied 25 controversial companies, from businesses responsible for the highest CO2 emissions, to companies using child labour, or suspected of being involved in the death of protesters. The pharmaceutical industry was looked at especially closely. “In 2013, we realised GlaxoSmithKline had tested its cervical cancer vaccines on several young Indian girls, without their parents’ consent. 7 of them died”, reveals FairFin.
Over the duration of the investigation, the 24 financial institutions being investigated invested a total of approximately 144 billion euros in the 25 controversial companies.
FairFin also ranked 8 banks operating in Belgium according to investment risk. The resulting list is similar to last year’s Dirty Profits 2 rankings, with only Belfius improving. Its investment risk has gone from “high” to “moderate”.
“Banks must use clear and transparent yes/no criteria when deciding to invest in businesses with policies that are detrimental to the population or the environment”, adds FairFin. “And since auto-regulation does not seem to be working, the government should also introduce legislation to ban this type of damaging investment.”