Dialogue and transparency - Archives

Societe Generale’s position following several NGO actions

14/09/2018 - Societe Generale and other financial institutions were the target of a media campaign by several NGOs. These targeted campaigns unfairly denigrate Societe Generale's commitments and the action it has taken to fight global warming in the last few years.

What is Societe Generale's policy when it comes to fighting global warming?
The actions reported in the media unfairly denigrate the commitments and work accomplished by the Bank in recent years. Societe Generale has made strong commitments in support of the climate, with the aim of aligning our activities with the 2°C target. We were one of the first international banks to stop funding coal projects, and subsequently bolstered our commitment by withdrawing from the extraction of oil from tar sands worldwide and from the production of oil in the Arctic region. The Bank also set a target to help raise €100bn in funding to back the energy transition effort and we confirmed our intention to step up our efforts in the renewable energy sector, in which we are one of the leading players with over 10 years' experience in the field.
This summer, we announced that 50% of our target had already been fulfilled.
These decisions mark an important milestone for the Bank in the battle against global warming. Societe Generale's climate protection policy is recognised by non-financial rating agencies and places us among the front-ranking players in this area. We have just been awarded the highest CSR rating of all the French banks by Robecosam, for example.
Fighting global warming and supporting energy transition are among the top priorities in the CSR commitments we have built into our strategy plan.

What is Societe Generale's role in the Rio Grande project in the US?
The NGOs are specifically criticising our role in the Rio Grande LNG project, in the US. Located in the state of Texas, the project involves the construction of a natural gas pipeline, a natural gas liquefaction plant, and a liquefied gas export terminal. This project is developed by the company NextDecade, a company specialising in the development and management of onshore and floating liquefied natural gas projects. NextDecade has mandated Societe Generale, along with Macquarie, as its financial advisors for the development of the Rio Grande project. As an advisor bank, Societe Generale's role is to provide financial services to its client to support them with the best possible development of their project. Contrary to the NGOs' claims, Societe Generale does not provide any financing and is ensuring all the required impact assessments are conducted.

What is Societe Generale's relationship with NGOs?
Contrary to what the NGOs may lead people to believe, Societe Generale has an active policy of listening to all stakeholders and pays the greatest attention to the queries it receives, including from NGOs that alert about Environmental & Social issues in its sphere of influence. The bank is deeply committed to pursuing this dialogue in a constructive and progress-driven approach.
A number of NGOs, including Attac, have criticised the French banks, including Societe Generale, for their taxation practices and the roles they play in creating offshore companies for their clients. What is the bank's position on this issue?
Societe Generale's Tax Code of Conduct in respect of business taxation, which was approved by the Board of Directors in November 2010 and updated in 2017, sets out the Group's guiding principles for the action it takes in respect of its operations: Societe Generale neither encourages nor promotes tax evasion, whether on its own account or that of its subsidiaries or customers.
The outlandish data reported by this NGO is in no way representative of either Societe Generale's business activity or the policy it has been pursuing for several years to battle fraud and tax evasion.
Meanwhile, we would like to point out that Societe Generale is careful to pay taxes at the applicable rate in each of the countries in which it operates and is not pursuing an aggressive tax optimisation strategy. In fiscal 2017, the Group paid over €2.2bn in tax and duties worldwide, of which €1.3bn in France.