Swiss National Bank Urged To Exit Investments In Fracking

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) was urged to divest from oil and gas fracking companies on Monday, when climate activists handed over a petition signed by 60,000 people demanding the Swiss central bank exit its fracking investments.    

Last month, a study by SNB Coalition and Climate Alliance Switzerland showed that the Swiss bank had investments worth a total of $16.1 billion in fossil fuel companies.  

According to the report from the climate campaign groups, as of the end of 2022, the SNB was invested in 69 companies that produce oil and gas using fracking or transport oil and gas produced using fracking. The total investment in fracking amounts to $9 billion.

“The SNB is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions due to fracking of around 7 MtCO2e through its investment shares. This is as much as the emissions of the entire Swiss agricultural sector,” the climate groups said.

In Switzerland, 14 cantons, which are home to 69 percent of the Swiss population, have positioned themselves against fracking. These cantons own around three quarters of all SNB shares held by the cantons.

“Due to the broadly supported rejection of fracking by cantonal governments and the population, it can be considered a norm and value of Switzerland, which the SNB should also respect,” the climate groups said in November, noting that fracking violates the bank’s investment policy.  

Some banks in Europe have started to reduce funding to oil and gas projects as part of their own climate targets.

The most drastic measure yet was taken earlier this year by France’s biggest bank, BNP Paribas, which said in May that it would no longer provide any financing for developing new oil and gas fields regardless of the financing methods.

The bank also pledged to reduce its financing for oil exploration and production by 80% by 2030 as part of its energy transition goals.