Financing the fossil energy sector makes Deutsche Bank a climate offender: Our countermotion

Re Agenda Item 2: Ratification of the acts of management of the members of the Management Board for the 2020 financial year

Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany proposes that ratification of the acts of management of the Management Board be refused.


The Management Board of Deutsche Bank continues to pursue a course of action that is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Because it provides finance to the fossil fuels sector, Deutsche Bank is part of the problem

Although Deutsche Bank toughened up its environmental policies last July and has subjected a greater number of coal and other fossil fuel companies to review and exclusion, it still remains a significant source of finance for fossil fuels. In its paper “Banking on Climate Chaos 2021”, the Rainforest Action Network ranks Deutsche Bank 20th among the top global financial backers across the fossil fuel life cycle, even though its involvement is on a downward trend (

Research from non-profit urgewald has found that, in Germany, Deutsche Bank is second only to Commerzbank for lending, with loans of €2.4 billion. Deutsche Bank is involved in equity and debt issuances with a volume of €3.9 billion. These financing arrangements are incompatible with Deutsche Bank’s own claim to have made decisive progress catching up on climate change and sustainability.

Deutsche Bank supports oil industry expansion

According to figures from the Rainforest Action Network, between 2016 and 2020 Deutsche Bank was the world’s eleventh-biggest lender to the oil sands industry. Within Europe, the Bank is in third place (

Deutsche Bank was also identified as a key financial backer of Enbridge and TC Energy, two companies involved in the controversial Keystone XL and Line 3 Replacement pipelines.

The expansion of the oil sands industry runs counter to the objectives of the Paris Agreement. In the pro-duction phase, oil sourced from oil sands generates between three and five times the amount of green-house gases per barrel than conventional oil extracted in North America. Climate risks aside, oil sand production is cost-intensive and can only be profitable if oil prices remain permanently high. It also entails considerable ecological and social risks.

Investors holding assets worth more than US$4 trillion recently wrote to Barclays’ Bank outlining their views on its relationship with the oil sands industry ( The same applies to Deutsche Bank.

The investors called on the bank to implement a robust screening policy for oil sands companies, commit to a clear, time-bound plan to phase out its existing exposure to oil sands assets, and commit to help clients develop and publish oil sands phase-out plans by no later than December 2023.

Deutsche Bank is currently only reviewing financing arrangements for new oil sands projects, which despite covering the exploration, production, transport and refining of oil sands nevertheless falls short of investor expectations and conflicts with Deutsche Bank’s declared commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 (

Ineffective controversial weapons policy

Adopted in 2018, Deutsche Bank’s new Controversial Weapons Policy contains loopholes. While ruling out direct dealings relating to nuclear weapons and general corporate lending to nuclear weapons manufacturers, it remains possible to lend to units or businesses that are not directly involved in manufacturing nu-clear weapons. For example, Deutsche Bank continues to lend to nuclear weapons manufacturers such as Honeywell, BAE Systems and Airbus. The loans to BAE Systems also demonstrate Deutsche Bank’s failure to shun defense companies that supply arms to war and conflict zones. Despite the hostilities in Yemen violating international law, BAE Systems supplies weapons including aircraft, arms and munitions to belligerent states such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

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