In the video – ‘How we take action to fight climate change’ – ING gives the impression of doing everything possible to stop the ‘speeding train’ of the climate crisis. In doing so, ING forgets to mention that the bank is still pouring $5-11 billion a year into fossil fuel companies and projects, thereby actually fuelling the climate crisis.
The Commission ruled that ING’s claims are so absolute (“We finance billions of euros of green projects and companies around the world”) that the average consumer would not expect ING to be still putting billions into fossil fuel projects and companies in addition to their sustainable financing.
The RCC also agreed with us that essential information – which consumers need to get a real picture of ING’s climate policy – was omitted. By only mentioning green projects and not including information about fossil fuel funding, viewers get a far too green impression of ING and cannot make an informed decision about whether or not to bank with ING.
A new complaint
Due to our pressure, ING has meanwhile changed the video; the voiceover now says that it also finances things that are ‘not green’. The new text is: “ING finances today’s society, which means, yes, we do finance things that aren’t green, but we also finance billions of euros of green projects and companies around the world.” But this is still misleading, which is why we are going to file a new complaint.
By putting money into new fossil fuel infrastructure now, ING is not funding the present, but our future dependence on fossil fuels. To recoup that investment into today’s fossil fuel infrastructure, and make a profit on it, oil and gas will have to be sold for decades to come. Thus, this kind of financing shackles us to a fossil fuel economy, while the IPCC has clearly demonstrated that existing fossil fuel projects will emit more than we can afford to stay below 1.5°C heating. Just last month, the bank put €325 million into a polluting LNG terminal in Port Arthur, Texas. This terminal will not be up and running until 2027. This is not financing today’s society, but future climate disasters.
British bank HSBC was already taken to task last year for a similar greenwashing campaign. While they made a nice show of their green financing, they said nothing about the billions the bank pumps into oil, coal and gas. The UK advertising watchdog ruled that customers would not expect HSBC to also fund companies that are actually driving climate disruption.
We have made a new ‘honest’ version of ING’s video: