Oxfam Ireland Homepage
  • 2 min read
  • Published: 23rd February 2023
  • Press Release by Samantha Andrades

Oxfam Ireland call for the Irish Govt to implement climate accountability legislation immediately as ground-breaking litigation case filed in France against BNP Paribas

This is the world's first climate lawsuit against a commercial bank.

Three NGOs, including Oxfam, have this morning (Thursday 23rd Feb) filed a lawsuit at the Paris Judicial Court against BNP Paribas. The bank has a presence in the IFSC in Dublin. It is described as “France’s most polluting bank” based on the following:

BNP Paribas,

  • has a larger carbon footprint than all of France’s territorial emissions.
  • is the leading European financier and 5th worldwide of fossil fuel expansion, between 2016 and 2021.
  • is the world's leading financier of the 8 oil and gas majors, including Total Energies, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, ENI, Repsol and Equinor, between 2016 and 2021.
  • 1st financier of the British oil and gas giant BP worldwide.
  • 1st financier of the Dutch oil and gas giant Shell worldwide.
  • 1st financier of the Italian oil and gas giant ENI worldwide.

This landmark French legal case is based on “the duty of vigilance”, a new French law against the impunity of multinational corporations.

Oxfam Ireland’s CEO, Jim Clarken said, “We urgently need the legal basis to take the same sorts of action here in Ireland.” The first step in this process is the EU Corporate Sustainability Directive (CSDDD) which has the ability to massively reduce global carbon emissions and other abuses in global value chains. The BNP Paribas case shows what a pivotal role financial institutions can play for better or worse. Late last year, it was widely reported that Ireland sought a carve-out for financial investors at the EU Council under the draft EU law – something which would have been disastrous for the new EU law’s effectiveness in reducing global carbon emissions.

As a founding member of the Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights, Oxfam Ireland has led the call for strong Irish legislation on business and human rights, including climate obligations. We call on all Irish MEPs to see that this EU legislation is robust on all of our climate obligations. We believe financial institutions must play their part and be accountable.

The next step will be to pass binding and effective Irish along the French lines that would apply to companies operating in Ireland. We expect to see legislation tabled in the Oireachtas on this issue very soon which must be robust, wide-ranging and binding.


Contact: Clare Cronin, +353871952551

External Communications Manager

Oxfam Ireland


The three NGOs involved are:

1. Oxfam France

2. Friends of the Earth (Les Amis de la Terre) France

3. Notre Affaire à Tous

Read more: https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/french-ngos-take-bnp-paribas-court-worlds-first-climate-lawsuit-against-commercial