Natural gas is a relatively clean fossil fuel and ING finances gas extraction. However, there are concerns about certain extraction methods, namely hydraulic fracturing of shale. The potential effects of this technique raise concerns. In the United States, shale gas takes a prominent role in the energy mix, accounting for 70% of all gas extraction. ING does have clients in the United States with shale gas-related activities. Our policy envisages enhanced due diligence including specific requirements for clients involved in shale gas extraction. However, in Europe we do not finance the mining, exploration or upgrading of shale gas.
Oil exploration in the Arctic
We recognise the ecological sensitivities of oil exploration in the Arctic. Shipping and drilling activities linked to exploration may disturb marine wildlife. A potential oil spill could have serious consequences for vulnerable marine ecosystems, and there is general concern that additional oil to the market from the Arctic could further impact the climate.
ING finances various clients and activities in the oil and gas industry. However, ING does not provide project finance services for Arctic offshore oil exploration.
We hold limited indirect exposure to certain activities in the Artic through our clients we finance, such as those supplying equipment used by oil and gas companies, and shipping companies transporting goods and supplies to oil and gas companies.
All our clients, including those providing services to companies operating in the Arctic, must comply with ING’s Environmental & Social Risk policy framework.
Oil sands, also known as tar sands or bituminous sands, are composed of a tar-like substance that is processed into oil.
Processing oil sands is known to be energy intensive, producing significant greenhouse gas emissions, contaminating water and impacting land through its substantial surface mining activities. This is in addition to potential social impacts, such as on the local native tribes historically using the land.
ING does not engage in transactions that are directly linked to the mining, exploration, transportation and processing of oil sands. As a result of our policy (in place since December 2012) we won’t finance the following oil pipe projects: TransMountain pipeline, Keystone XL, Energy East or Line 3.
Oil and gas in Ecuador and Peru
Indigenous people living in the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru have called on banks to stop financing oil development in the region, as it poses a threat to them and the surrounding ecosystem.
ING does not finance the exploration and production of oil and gas in the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru. We have financed the trading of oil from the region, but decided in the beginning of 2021 not to enter into new contracts for exports from Ecuador and decided in November 2021 not to enter into contracts for exports from Peru.
ING has no financial exposure to oil and gas exploration and production projects in the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru. The Headwaters of the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru are largely internationally protected areas. ING has a policy framework that prohibits direct engagement in internationally protected areas.
Furthermore, ING applies set criteria when financing on-the-ground assets, also in regard to indigenous communities. For example, projects financed under the Equator Principles framework require the ‘free prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) of affected communities if the project has impacts on ancestral land or uses resources within an Indigenous population's territory.
Given that we are involved in the financing of companies that buy and trade oil from the region, and that our policy for example under the Equator Principles is out of scope, as it does not apply to trade finance, we decided to research the concerns expressed by local communities in 2021. At the same time, we are engaging our clients on the subject. In the meantime, we will not engage in any new contracts for the financing of Amazon oil and gas trade flows from Ecuador and Peru.
We will continue our monitoring and engagement with existing clients on the topic, in line with our view on positively using leverage (read more from page 70 in our Human Rights Report).
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Mail to: Sustainability@ing.com