• April 17, 2024

French Continuing to Finance Tobacco: Report

 French Continuing to Finance Tobacco: Report

Image: sergnester

Image: sergnester

Several French banks continue to finance the tobacco industry despite promises to stop doing so, according to a report commissioned by anti-smoking group Alliance Contre le Tabac (ACT), reports RFI. In November 2023 alone, the country’s banks invested $733 million in the tobacco business. Of these investment funds, 40 percent came from the BPCE Group and more than 20 percent came from Credit Agricole.

“If the tobacco industry has succeeded in maintaining its deadly trade, it is, in part, thanks to the resources provided by banking institutions and investment funds,” said Marion Catellin, director of the ACT.

The banks pledged to stop funding tobacco companies six years ago, according to Catellin.

Australian nongovernmental organization Tobacco-Free Portfolio introduced the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge in 2017, which called on international financial players to stop financing tobacco companies. Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and the BPCE group signed this pledge.

The ACT-commissioned report showed that these banks, between 2018 and 2023, approved loans amounting to $5.3 billion to BAT, Philip Morris International and Imperial Brands.

“These bank credits are unacceptable,” said Catellin. “As World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently stated, every investment in the tobacco industry is an investment in death and disease. By financing the tobacco industry, French banks are complicit in an industry that kills one out of every two consumers.”

“Aware of the environmental and social impacts associated with the tobacco sector, Societe Generale has committed to a strategy to exit the sector,” said the bank, which accounts for 83 percent of French financial support for the tobacco industry. Societe Generale signed a charter in September 2023 expressing plans to exit the sector.