Davos bankers 'nothing short of hypocrites'

| 22nd January 2020
Environmental campaigners Greenpeace criticise financial sector for continuing to finance fossil fuels, despite dire warnings about the state of the climate.

Despite environmental and economic warnings, they’re fuelling another global financial crisis by propping up the fossil fuel industry.


Banks and pension funds represented at this week’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland have pumped US$1.4 trillion into fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement was signed, according to Greenpeace International.

In a new report, the campaign group analysed which banks, pension funds and insurers attend the Davos meeting. Greenpeace has also highlighted the lobbyists and PR firms engaged by these companies to work against the Paris Agreement in an accompanying website www.worldeconomicfailure.com.

Of the 24 banks whose chief executives are in Davos, just ten account for US$1 trillion in fossil fuel finance: JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, RBC Royal Bank, Barclays, MUFG, TD Bank, Scotiabank, Mizuho and Morgan Stanley.


Three pension funds that are due this year at Davos have at least US$26 billion in fossil fuel holdings in Shell, Chevron and Exxon, among others, Greenpeace said.

Meanwhile, five of the world’s worst insurance providers when it comes to covering coal attended the 2019 Davos meeting, and are likely to be there this year, Greenpeace said. These are AIG, Prudential, Sompo, Tokio Marine and Lloyd’s. Four of the five have not adopted any public policies to reduce their support for coal projects, it added.

“Despite environmental and economic warnings, they’re fuelling another global financial crisis by propping up the fossil fuel industry. These money men at Davos are nothing short of hypocrites as they say they want to save the planet, but are actually killing it for short term profit,” said Greenpeace International executive director, Jennifer Morgan.

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP said that the report “laid bare the complicity” of the international finance sector in the destruction of our planet. “If the climate crisis isn’t at the top of the agenda for every meeting at Davos, the bankers will continue to fail all of us and our children,” he said.

This Author

Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for the Ecologist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.

More from this author


The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate now.