21. April 2021

Lagarde responds – we react

Greenwashing and lip service are not enough

“We call on you to explain by March 11 how and by when the ECB will align its monetary policy and measures for banking supervision with the 1.5 °C target of the Paris Climate Agreement.”

This demand concludes the letter we sent to the ECB on February 16 with the support of numerous signatories. Its subject should be self-evident in the face of the climate crisis that has been manifesting itself for years, and it has been officially supported by the EU at least since the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016.

And indeed: On the last day of the deadline, ECB President Christine Lagarde sent a response. Alas, it was disappointing: The ECB offers pretty words, but nevertheless continues to support climate-damaging companies. We do not want to leave this form of greenwashing uncommented and have therefore analysed Christine Lagarde’s response in detail together with experts and have in turn drafted a reply. The video summarises the core statements.

It becomes apparent that the ECB is largely failing to live up to its own standards and its responsibility towards the people of Europe and around the world.

In our response, we therefore demand the following:

“Dear Ms Lagarde, let us be honest: You know full well that the measures taken by the ECB so far are by no means sufficient to even slow down the progression of the climate crisis.

The climate crisis is the key challenge of our time and poses an existential threat to humanity. The ECB and the national banks must finally understand that the climate crisis cannot be fought with empty promises and greenwashing. In a future largely defined by climate-related hardships, there will be nothing to regulate or finance. The fight against the climate crisis and for climate justice must become the guiding impulse!”

The ECB and national banks such as the Deutsche Bundesbank must finally understand that combating the climate crisis is not something that can be done in passing as part of a CSR strategy. The sectors of finance, business, industry, and politics must understand that human society, consumption, growth, biodiversity, and nature can only be understood as an interwoven web.

Even if it ever existed – the time for lip service and greenwashing is long gone.

(1) New Economics Foundation et al. 2020, Decarbonising is Easy. Beyond Market Neutrality in the ECB’s Corporate QE https://neweconomics.org/2020/10/decarbonising-is-easy

(2) EZB-Chefin Lagarde stellt zentrales Prinzip in Frage (FAZ, 15.10.2020)

(3) Bundesbank chief: How central banks should address climate change (Financial Times, 19.11.2020)