Monday 26th January 2021 A week after the French central bank – Banque de France – reduced its investments in fossil fuels, a new campaign launched by SumOfUs and Reclaim Finance is calling on the French central bank to show the same determination in decarbonising European monetary policy. Despite the European Central Bank’s (ECB) massive covid-19 response supporting the most polluting companies, the Governor of the Banque de France plans on waiting five more years while claiming its will to make the ECB a ‘pioneer’ in the fight against climate change.

SumOfUs and Reclaim Finance are launching a petition calling on the Banque de France and its Governor to support a rapid and ambitious decarbonisation of the ECB’s operations. This petition is accompanied by a campaign video.

While the ECB and its members are studying the integration of climate considerations into policy amid the bank’s strategy review process (1), and other central banks have started integrating climate criteria into their monetary operations (2), this petition asks the Banque de France to translate the momentum built with its announcement of a drastic reduction of its investments in fossil fuels (3) into action at the European level.

Today, the ECB continues to refuse to condition its response to Covid-19 – which is expected to exceed 5 trillion euros between 2020 and 2022 (4) – on environmental criteria. It will therefore favour polluting companies – including 38 fossil fuel companies – and contradict the wishes clearly expressed by Europeans in a poll (5) carried out to echo the ECB’s public consultation.

Leyla Larbi, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs, explains: “The ECB continues to talk about climate but acts as a climate blocker, buying assets from the most polluting companies, like Shell and Total, and throwing money at the banks that finance them. Companies receiving ECB support are planning no less than 67 new fossil projects.(6) More than 167,000 Europeans (7) demand the ECB stop their climate destruction. If Banque de France and its governor seems to agree that things need to change, now it’s turn those words into action

While the Governor of the Banque de France has repeatedly indicated his desire to strengthen the ECB’s climate commitments, he has not specified the terms of such a transformation and has suggested that it could take up to another five years. This delay flies in the face of recent research which clearly indicates that the next few years are decisive to limit global warming (8).

Paul Schreiber, campaigner at Reclaim Finance, adds: “With its new investment policy, the Banque de France recognizes the urgency of reducing financial support for fossil fuels. But this decision is limited to 22 billion of investments, while the bank’s governor plans to wait “3 to 5” (9) more years to ensure that the thousands of billions of monetary policy are compatible with our climate objectives. In the context of COP26, and as its Governor claims he wants to make the ECB a climate “pioneer” (10), the Banque de France must bring about a rapid and ambitious decarbonization of European monetary policy (11).”

Press contacts

Leyla Larbi, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUS |

Paul Schreiber, Campaigner as Reclaim Finance |

Angus Satow, Press Officer at Reclaim Finance |


Petition available here

  1. Detailed information surrounding an ECB decarbonisation policy and the evolution of the debate on this topic can be found at this address:
  2. Even though the criteria currently used by central banks are clearly insufficient, they show that the conditioning of monetary operations could be done immediately: The Swiss National Bank recently announced that it would exclude coal mining companies from all its portfolios, monetary included. / The Swedish Central Bank has applied CO2 emission criteria on its monetary reserves since 2019 and will from now on condition its asset purchases on respect for international norms.
  3. The new investment policy announced on the 18th January 2021 by the Banque de France is analysed in this press release from Reclaim Finance.
  4. The 5 trillion figure includes asset repurchases (via the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program – 1.85 trillion – and the Corporate Sector Purchase Program – 120 billion -) and refinancing operations (at least 3 trillion in liquidity). These operations have been decided at successive ECB meetings (see the ECB press releases)
  5. SumOfUs, Reclaim Finance and conducted a parallel survey alongside the consultation opened by the ECB in order to make it accessible to as many people as possible. The results of this survey are available here.
  6. This data comes from two reports by Reclaim Finance on ECB asset buybacks: and
  7. A petition demanding the ECB end its support for fossil fuel companies was signed by more than 167,000 Europeans.
  8. See in particular the Production Gap Report 2020, which underlines the need to decrease fossil fuel production.
  9. The Governor notably cited this delay at the Climate Finance Day. The last announcements from the ECB also suggest a will to wait several years to implement climate measures (see our reaction to the ECB’s January 25th announcements).
  10. See the Governor’s statements in Alternatives Economiques (in French).
  11. See in particular the demands of Reclaim Finance and the five demands from European NGOs for concrete propositions made to the ECB.