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Climate accountability | 11 January 2024

Letter from ClientEarth to 10 banks regarding their human rights responsibilities and legal duties with respect to energy sector clients
Climate accountability
Climate finance
Climate

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Letter from ClientEarth to 10 banks regarding their human rights responsibilities and legal duties with respect to energy sector clients

ClientEarth has written to the CEOs of 10 banks that provide financial and/or advisory services to Saudi Aramco and other energy sector clients continuing to pursue fossil fuel expansion. The letters follow-up on our legal complaint to UN human rights experts which concerned Saudi Aramco and its financial backers regarding the human rights impacts of the oil giant’s contribution to the climate crisis.

The letters reference the UN’s recent communications with the banks regarding our complaint, in which the UN’s human rights experts set a new legal milestone by warning the banks that continuing to finance fossil fuel expansion could be a breach of international human rights law. Our letters translate this warning into actionable red lines banks need to incorporate into their business practices and financing policies. They set out the banks’ business and human rights responsibilities with respect to energy sector clients under international human rights standards, and the related legal and reputational risks arising from any breaches of the requirements of those standards.

Please note that this letter is only a template. The specific contents of each letter were tailored to the recipient banks and the local laws applicable to the jurisdictions of their headquarters. The ten bank recipients were: HSBC, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, BNP Paribas, SMBC and Mizuho. Letters to the French banks were sent jointly with Notre Affaire à Tous.