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Leading lender to make dramatic pivot in investment strategy by 2040: 'We are saying that we're going to be completely out'

The move is a step in the right direction.

The move is a step in the right direction.

Photo Credit: iStock

The ING Group, a Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation, has announced that it will stop financing oil and gas exploration and production by 2040, Reuters reported.

In addition, the Netherlands' biggest lender revealed that it will triple its investments in renewable energy.

"Initially we had said we would bring down our upstream oil and gas exposure by 50% by 2040 and now we are saying that we're going to be completely out," CEO Steven van Rijswijk said.

The shift is yet another signal that many of the world's capitalist forces are continuing their slow and steady march away from the polluting dirty energy sources that are overheating our planet. France's second-largest listed bank, Crédit Agricole, announced that it would stop financing new fossil fuel extraction projects while tripling its investment in renewables by 2030, per Reuters.

While environmental groups such as Extinction Rebellion would certainly prefer that ING stop investing in dirty energy sooner rather than 16 years in the future, the activist group acknowledged the move as a step in the right direction.

However, a spokesperson for the group told Reuters that the announcement was "not enough," adding that, "Existing projects extracting oil, coal and gas are already enough to take us over 2 degrees of warming."

In recent years, corporations and world governments have been met with increasing public pressure to stop their planet-destroying practices in the form of protests, boycotts, and other forms of activism. While the vast majority of the entities being protested have been reticent to do anything they believe will hurt their immediate profits, announcements like the ones from ING and Crédit Agricole show that the activism has some effect.

Unfortunately, the climate goals that corporations and governments set are not always followed through on — experts have warned that the United States government is continuing to ramp up its dirty energy extraction despite claiming to be committed to a renewable energy transition. 

For meaningful progress to be made, it is crucial to keep the pressure on the entities responsible for pollution.

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