5. June 2020

The ECB. Part of the problem or part of the solution?

We, from the Koala Kollektiv, are following the actions of the financial players in the climate crisis very closely. And although we often criticise banks, this is not a fundamental criticism of the banking system. After all, banks are per se neutral. They can do good or bad. They can intensify crises or support solutions.

What about the European Central Bank?

On the occasion of the Governing Council meeting to discuss further Covid support measures, we took a closer look at this.

The European Union wants to become climate neutral by 2050 and Christine Lagarde, the new head of the ECB, has recognised the importance of “green” investment in the face of the climate crisis. The financial policy of the ECB, however, contradicts this.

Price stability is the most important task of the ECB. However, the economic consequences of the climate crisis will be so devastating that it is endangered in the long term. The Bank must therefore now take responsibility and protect the climate!

But how exactly can the ECB intervene?

The ECB considers itself to be market neutral and wants to make its purchases in such a way that the market is mapped as accurately as possible i.e. there are no distortions from its investments. But if the EU’s climate targets are taken seriously, “market neutrality” can no longer be justified. Because if the market is mapped 1:1, the status quo is cemented. What is urgently needed instead is a restructuring of the economy.

But even this antiquated dogma of “market neutrality” is currently not upheld by the ECB! The ECB’s asset portfolio is more CO2-intensive than the (already climate-damaging) market! This is why the think tank ReclaimFinance also speaks of an “anti-climate bias”.

So one thing is certain: the ECB’s investments are currently exacerbating the climate crisis!


In their report “Quantitative easing and climate: The ECB’s dirty secret”, Reclaim Finance shows that 38 companies doing business with fossil fuels are financed by the ECB. 63% of the ECB’s corporate asset purchases go to companies with high CO2 emissions.

One of these companies is Fortum. Fortum is the largest shareholder of Uniper Energy, the company that, despite the decision to phase out coal and contrary to the recommendation of the German coal commission, put a new coal-fired power station #Datteln4 into operation on 30.5.2020!

Not without protest.

Two other companies financed are Shell and Total. Shell plans to increase its climate-damaging oil and gas production by 38% by 2030 and Total wants to increase it by 12% in the same period!

More on the human rights abuses and climate crimes committed by Shell and Total can be found here.

We call on the ECB to stop supporting companies that make their money from fossil fuels or are now implementing and planning new climate-damaging projects. The ECB must no longer add to the problem but become part of the solution!

No money for killers of our future

but rather

Money for Future!


P.S. A recent Greenpeace report came to the same conclusion.

Our Deutsche Bank campaign: https://koalakollektiv.de/deutsche-bank-die-schmutzigste-bank-deutschlands/

Our Commerzbank campaign: https://koalakollektiv.de/unsere-aktion-bei-der-commerzbank-das-steckt-dahinter/