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DNB ready to fight activists

DNB is facing increasing criticism from activists who believe that it is wrong of them to support the oil and gas industry, but group CEO Kjerstin Braathen believes exclusions are the wrong approach.

DNB Group CEO Kjerstin Braathen | Photo: PR

DNB is facing pressure from yet more sides to stop financing the oil sector. DNB has considerable exposure to fossil fuel companies, which are becoming less and less popular among investors.

However, Group CEO Kjerstin Braathen tells Bloomberg that she is ready to show activists that cutting financing, selling shares or boycotting oil companies is not the right strategy.

"It could be a dangerous strategy if the result is that we are building up more gray markets that are not regulated, that are not transparent, that aren’t impacted by regulation," Braathen says.

She believes that a boycott would lead to oil and gas companies being supported by far less responsible financial institutions, which could hinder the transition to renewable energy.

Bloomberg reports that history shows that it is easy for fossil fuel companies to find new sources of financial support when banks tap out, and they can often get these investments at a discount. This has previously happened when the Oil Fund divested companies.

That being said, the evidence to suggest that staying invested in a company in order to push it in a more sustainable direction is not overwhelming.

"This is no exact science. We are in new territory setting targets and the way we think about it is that, in a year’s time we will review it," says Braathen, adding that if progress is acheived faster, "then we will accelerate it".

DNB has almost EUR 20bn (NOK 200bn) in exposure to oil and gas. They have around EUR 5.6bn (NOK 56bn) invested in green bonds.

English edit: Catherine Brett

(This article was provided by our Norwegian sister media, FinansWatch.no)

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