PARIS (Reuters) – Environmental activists briefly disrupted BNP Paribas’ annual shareholder meeting in Paris on Tuesday, accusing France’s largest listed bank of being Europe’s main financing partner for the fossil energies sector.
Fourteen activists sounded portable alarms when the bank’s executives presented the firm’s targets and actions in the fight against climate change.
In a statement, the activists also criticized BNP Paribas’ ties with TotalEnergies, pointing out BNP Paribas’ financing links with the French oil and energy giant.
Climate change has become increasingly important for governments and corporations around the world, with many environmental activists targeting annual general meetings. The Lloyd’s of London insurance market said this month that its annual general meeting (AGM) faced the threat of climate protests.
The BNP Paribas shareholder meeting, held near the Louvre Museum, was disrupted during 20 minutes.
BNP Paribas chief executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe defended the bank’s loan to TotalEnergies at the meeting, saying it was not aimed at financing fossil energies activities but rather to help TotalEnergies’ general financial position, given volatility in energy markets after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
BNP Paribas had also pledged earlier this month to end most new financing for oil production in the Amazon rainforest and said it would reduce its “financed emissions intensity” in the energy and auto sectors.
(Reporting by Matthieu Protard; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)