Following in the footsteps of BNP Paribas, another French banking group has announced they are cutting ties with the tobacco industry. Natixis, subsidiary of Banques Populaires Caisses d’Epargne, made a public commitment to put an end to their activities with big and small tobacco players.
In the past few months, financing of tobacco industries has become a controversial subject. Banks are increasingly wary and are reducing, in some cases stopping entirely, their financial activities in such a disreputable sector. Nataxis has commited to ending all financing and investments in cigarette companies worldwide.
In doing this, the French bank made a strong statement. This decision highlights a change of philosophy, alongside the bank’s decision to no longer finance companies in the oil industry. This decision can also be understood in the light of other, similar commitments. Indeed, the bank became a patron of the Gustave Roussy foundation, a major European research centre in the fight against cancer.
Bankers cutting ties with big tobacco
Nataxis’s efforts align with those of BNP Paribas. This other banking giant also decided to no longer finance tobacco industry players. A number of retirement funds working to uphold a spirit of ethical investment are adopting similar attitudes. For example, this is the case for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global.
Throughout the world, a range of financial institutions are gradually cutting ties with the tobacco industry. In the Netherlands, ABN Amro bank has commited to no longer working with groups who participate in this sector.
While it is difficult to estimate Nataxis’s investments in the sector, this statement highlights the banking sector’s growing apprehension for working with industries that suffer from negative brand image. We can only hope that the trend will pick up speed and inspire others to do the same.