Friends of the Earth files lawsuit against ING

January 31st, 2024

The Netherlands arm of Friends of the Earth, Milieudefensie, has filed a climate lawsuit against financial services group ING, calling on it to halve its carbon emissions.

The lawsuit demands ING, a Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation and the largest bank in the Netherlands, halve its emissions by 2030, compared with 2019 levels, and end its collaboration with polluting companies.

Milieudefensie welcomed ING’s announced modifications its climate policy, but said the policy is still “highly inadequate”.

The lawsuit stated that ING is in breach of its legal societal standard of care by contributing to dangerous climate change, and that the group’s policy is unlawful with regard to the public interest and urged it to ensure its climate policy, financing and services be brought in accordance with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement.

The activist group filed and won a similar case against Shell in 2021, which required the oil giant to reduce its net emissions by 45% by 2030 compared with 2019 levels after a judge agreed that Shell had violated a duty of care obligation in relation to the human rights of people affected by climate change.

It said the precedent this case set is clear, requiring large corporations to bring their policy in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and establishing that ING and other large companies have a duty of care to reduce their own contribution to dangerous climate change.

Donald Pols, director of Milieudefensie, said: “He who pays the piper calls the tune. Due to ING’s financing of […] oil and gas companies, ING is the banker of the climate crisis.

“ING must insist that large polluting corporations provide convincing climate transition plans. If they fail to do so, ING will no longer do business with them.”

Last Updated: 1 February 2024