The environmental mayor of Besançon, Anne Vignot, is one of the elected officials who will choose the bankers, for their loans, according to the most virtuous criteria from an ecological point of view. Already in January 2022, the city of Besançon announced that it would no longer choose banks for its loans based solely on financial criteria. Climate and social responsibility and financial transparency are now part of the selection criteria.
Thermal redevelopment of schools, kindergartens, urban planning: cities have to borrow loans to finance their work. In January 2022, the elected representatives of the majority of the Besançon city council wanted to underline their choice to select banks according to financial criteria but also of sustainable development.
We act locally to transform the lives of the inhabitants, so that the ecological transition materializes in the projects. But we must ensure that this funding does not contribute to the other part of the world for the extraction of tar sands or the opening of an offshore oil platform.Anthony Poulin, deputy mayor in charge of finance
The Municipality of Besançon has already selected three establishments for its bank loans: the Postal Bank (7 million), the Banque des Territoires (3.5 million) and the Nef (2 million). The borrowed money will finance the thermal renovation of five gyms and the renovation of several schools.
“These are 100% transparent and 100% ecological financing projects”assures Michel Rouault, regional director of the Center-East at the Banque Postale. “The next few years are a turning point”François Laigneau, of the Banque des Territoires, exults on his part, while Marine Gauchier, in charge of the large accounts at La Nave, says he is “happy with these changes of mentality”.
This approach is also on the agenda in thirteen other French cities. On the occasion of COP27the 27th United Nations climate conference, elected officials made it known by publishing, on November 6, 2022, a column in the Journal Du Dimanche.
We will choose the financial partners that seem to us the most virtuous in terms of eco-responsibility and transparencyPierre Hurmic, EELV mayor of Bordeaux
“Climate change and inequality kill, and will kill even more if we do not respect the commitments of the Paris Agreement. We are already seeing the effects of this reality on our territories and our citizens”, write the 14 signatories in the JDD.
Willingness to make consistent choices
For Pierre Hurmic, Mayor of Bordeaux, “It is about asking the banks to join the efforts that we, local authorities, are making to be in the light of current climate requirements because we ourselves have a concern for consistency with our policies. For example, explains to our colleagues at France Info, when I was mayor in July 2020, I made a commitment: declare a climate emergency in Bordeaux. This clearly meant that all decisions that would be made by the new municipality had to be made by studying their climate impacts. Council partners must help us meet this imperative. We want exemplary financial partners, first of all we seek ethical and eco-responsible financing.
“Five French companies have a larger carbon footprint than French, four are banks. Obviously customers have a role to play”, says Cécile Duflot, general manager of Oxfam France. The association led by the former housing minister has just released a report detailed carbon footprint “colossal” big companies. “Many banks are not living up to their responsibilities”Cécile Duflot points out.
“This grandstandbelieves the mayor of Bordeaux, it is a way to advertise the commitments made by these cities. It is not just a declaration of intent “..
List of forum signatories in the JDD:
Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris
Gregory Doucet, mayor of Lyon
Eric Piolle, mayor of Grenoble
Nathalie Appéré, Mayor of Rennes
Pierre Hurmic, mayor of Bordeaux
Jeanne Barseghian, Mayor of Strasbourg
Léonore Moncond’huy, mayor of Poitiers
François Astorg, Mayor of Annecy
Christian Métairie, mayor of Arcueil
Anne Vignot, Mayor of Besançon
Jean-François Débat, mayor of Bourg-en-Bresse
Bruno Bernard, metropolis of Lyon
Florence Jardin, President of Greater Poitiers
Emmanuel Denis, Mayor of Tours
Cédric Van Styvendael, mayor of Villeurbanne.