New ECB climate strategy slow and incomplete, say campaigners

July 19, 2021|Written by Camilla Schramek|European Central Bank

Civil society groups have criticised the European Central Bank’s (ECB) new climate strategy for allowing continued support for fossil fuels.

In a joint statement released on Monday, the groups – Reclaim Finance, Greenpeace, and Koala Kollektiv – also accused the bank of taking a slow, “take your time” approach to implementing climate policies.

The statement was published as flood waters in Germany and neighbouring countries recede, and called on the ECB to adopt a precautionary approach without waiting for detailed research. The groups also want to see the bank act immediately to cut funding for fossil fuel companies and align its collateral framework, corporate asset purchases and refinancing operations with EU climate objectives and the Paris Agreement.

Despite widespread agreement on the need to align ECB operations with emission reduction targets, the bank does not plan to introduce climate-related criteria into its collateral framework or refinancing operations.

Warning that this lack of action exposes the central bank to legal challenges under the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, the statement also criticises the imprecise wording used by the bank and points out that even the measures outlined in the climate strategy will not be implemented before 2023.

“The ECB acknowledges that climate integration is required by both its primary and secondary mandates,” the campaigning groups said. “Unfortunately, the bank’s roadmap falls short in several instances,  with major gaps and uncertainties and a slow implementation timeline.”

“The strategy is desperately thin,” added Paul Schreiber, Reclaim Finance campaigner, in a blog accompanying the statement’s release. “Under its plan, the ECB will continue to support polluters for at least several years, fail to align itself with EU climate goals, and only move towards implementation at a snail’s pace.”

Issued in advance of the first ECB monetary policy meeting since the adoption of the new climate strategy on Thursday, the civil society groups recommend that the ECB align its collateral framework and refinancing operations with EU greenhouse gas reduction targets and proposes the use of a dual screening and tilting approach to exclude companies that develop fossil fuels.

They also recommend accelerating the bank’s implementation timeline, and the adoption and championing of a precautionary approach to climate change mitigation.

Reclaim Finance has previously issued a point-by-point analysis of the ECB climate strategy and early civil society reaction welcomed the new strategy but warned there was still much more to be done.

This page was last updated September 15, 2021

Share this article