Rabobank has decided not to help finance projects to extract natural gas from under the Wadden Sea, the bank said on Friday.
‘The Wadden Sea has been on the Unesco world heritage list since 2009,’ the bank said in a statement. ‘Despite this, various companies have applied for licences to drill for gas under the Wadden Sea, from both land an in the sea itself.’
Last year four companies made formal licence requests, leading the Wadden Society to call on investors not to cooperate.
The bank said it only lend money to companies active in fragile environments if it could be proved there is no risk attached. In particular, ‘drilling could cause subsidence of the sea bed in an area already affected by rising sea levels as a result of climate change’, the bank said.
Wadden Society director Arjan Berkhuysen said in a reaction: ‘We hope that other banks and pension funds will follow suit. This decision has inspired us, in any case, to work with residents of the Wadden Area in making both politicians and investors aware that they too have a unique opportunity to preserve this unique conservation area.’
Rabobank recently sharped up its investment policy to exclude coal-related activities.
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