Dutch ING & ABP also invest in Arctic spill's Norilsk Nickel

17 June 2020

Fair Finance Guide Netherlands reveal that Dutch ING and ABP are major investors in Norilsk Nickel, the Russian mining company behind the major environmental disaster in the polar region on May 29, 2020. 

Back in February 2020 case studies from Fair Finance Guide Netherlands revealed that ING bank gave $ 307 million in loans to Norilsk Nickel (aka Nornickel) and invested $207 million in corporate bonds. At the end of February 2020, ING again lent an estimated $332 million, according to new research by the Fair Bank and Pension Guide published today. ABP has invested $221 million in Norilsk Nickel shares. This news comes as Fair Finance Guide Sweden also report the involvement of Swedish banks.

As much as 21,000 tons of diesel have now leaked into the vulnerable permafrost area above the Arctic Circle polluting 350 square kilometers and the nearby Ambarnaya and Daldykan Rivers. This oil spill is the second largest by volume in modern Russian history and is considered a major environmental disaster.

Norilsk Nickel has long been blacklisted by various investors for repeatedly causing serious environmental damage in the Arctic. That is why one of the largest investors in the world, the Norwegian State Pension Fund, no longer invests in Norilsk Nickel. In the Netherlands, Actiam from Vivat excludes the company.

Fair Finance Guide Netherlands is calling for an end to all investments in companies that exploit raw materials in the Arctic, especially mining, oil and gas companies, and for Norilsk Nickel to repair all the environmental damage caused by the oil spill.

"It is unimaginable that ING and ABP invest time and time again in Norilsk Nickel," said Peter Ras of the Fair Bank and Pension Guide. "This company is tremendously damaging the fragile nature of the Arctic. Put pressure on Norilsk to repair the damage to the environment. Stop new investments in mining and oil and gas companies that drill in the Arctic."

ING has said in a response that it is also concerned about the diesel leak. "We have been in contact with Norilsk Nickel several times about the cause and the measures the company is taking. We see that the company takes the situation very seriously and is doing everything possible to clean up the area. We finance mining companies because they supply important raw materials For example, nickel is essential for the production of electric car batteries. ING does not finance oil and gas projects in the Arctic. "

As a long-term investor, ABP says it wants to influence the company "so that it repairs environmental damage and takes measures to prevent future accidents." It also says "We have had discussions with this company about climate and human rights for a long time. Our discussions have intensified after this incident. Our sustainability policy shows that if the dialogue with a company does not lead to the desired results, we can always consider divesting."

The campaign has attracted widespread media coverage in the Netherlands.

Above: Fair Finance Guide Netherlands' public campaign demands action from ING bank to stop harmful investments

Fair Finance International operates in 11 countries assessing, reporting on, and campaigning for financial institutions' to invest responsibly. Learn more about one of our other local Fair Finance Guides