A new report has found that over half of Europe’s bank directors have affiliations with highly carbon dependent companies and organisations.
The analysis, released by investigative research organisation DeSmog UK, found that over 80% of directors for Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays held potentially compromising ties.
“The findings raise concerns over a systemic conflict of interest at a time when the international financial sector is under increasing pressure to stop funding fossil fuels,” according to authors of the report.
The world’s 60 biggest banks have provided fossil fuel funding worth $3.8 trillion in the five years since the Paris Agreement.
DeSmog’s analysis of 15 major European banks found that 61% of directors had held positions with polluting companies and organisations, with over a third of those currently holding the role. 17% of directors were found to have held positions with polluting energy companies, including fossil fuel giants Shell, BP and Exxon.
At least 20% of directors at five of the banks had links to companies identified by Climate Actions 100+ as some of the world’s worst polluters. One director was found to sit on the board of seven banks and have ties to companies involved in the extraction of coal, the most polluting fossil fuel.
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The report, which also looked at Canada, China, Australia, South Africa and the USA, found that there were also significant ties to think tanks and lobbying groups with a history of campaigning against climate action.
“The fossil fuel industry has a well-established track record of ingratiating itself with society’s opinion leaders and decision makers, ... because of the revolving doors between the corporate leaderships of incumbent industries,” Geoffrey Supran, Research Associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University, said.
“Having its fingers in all the pies allows the fossil fuel industry to quietly put its thumb on the scales of institutional decision making, helping delay action and protect the status quo.”
Deutsche Bank and Citibank were also named in the report for their compromising links.