14. May 2020

Our action at Commerzbank – and what is behind it

On 13 May 2020 we protested together with our friends from Urgewald e.V. at the Annual General Meeting of Commerzbank in front of the bank’s headquarters. The aim was to present a business policy which, although it appears to take climate protection into account, in reality reveals a double game: Business with the fossil industry and even with arms companies is still going on.

This is what is behind it:

Commerzbank AG is proud to be one of the first signatories of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking. But its business policy is not compatible with the Paris climate goals and is therefore #greenwashing.
The Commerzbank is the 4th largest bank in Germany and has invested 10 billion USD in fossil energies since the conclusion of the international Paris climate agreement!

Its customers include RWE, Europe’s largest CO2 emitter and leading lignite miner, which is responsible for the #Garzweiler and #Hambach opencast mines, among others, and is still expanding coal mines (Source)
Uniper is also one of their customers. Among other things, Uniper is responsible for Datteln 4, the coal-fired power plant that is to be commissioned this summer despite the decision to phase out coal.

TAURON Polska Energia is one of the customers of the Commerzbank subsidiary mBank Polska. Their electricity mix consists of 75% coal and they are still building new coal-fired power plants and developing new mines.
Other companies with whom Commerzbank has business relations that are harmful to the climate can be found on Urgewald’s CoalExitList. A detailed analysis of the most climate damaging banks can be found here.

It is true that the Commerzbank has introduced coal guidelines. Unfortunately, these are insufficient to phase out coal throughout Europe by 2030 (which must be achieved to comply with the Paris Climate Declaration).

Commerzbank CEO Martin #Zielke likes to be green: “Especially when it comes to sustainable finance, we want to give the appropriate space to social and ecological aspects as well as the principles of good corporate governance in cooperation with our clients. (Source)

Since fine words do not correspond to the core business, we demand from Commerzbank: Let deeds follow!

That Commerzbank’s business policy is becoming a real reputational risk is shown by this Reuters report on the Annual General Meeting, in which our protest takes up 2/3 of the report.

Weiterführende Informationen:

Here also information about Commerzbank’s business with the arms industry.

This Urgewald webinar is worth watching: