ING, Rabobank and ABN AMRO have provided EUR 3.1 billion in loans in the past five years for goods such as soy that often lead to deforestation.

At the end of last year, pension funds, insurers and banks invested 362 million euros in these goods, according to Milieudefensie and Profundo's own research.

Dutch financial institutions also invest in companies such as a soy trader that has repeatedly been linked to deforestation and human rights violations, says Milieudefensie.

Campaign leader Wouter Kolk calls the Dutch financial sector "European champion of financing deforestation".

"In the midst of a climate and biodiversity crisis, we are using our money to aggravate it and add fuel to the fire," said Kolk.

"It is the reversed world. There must be a climate obligation that obliges polluters such as the financial institutions to make their chains deforestation-free."

See also: Will Glasgow's deforestation deal save the Amazon (for real)?

3.1 billion euros in loans with deforestation risk

Milieudefensie and Profundo investigated the money flows between Dutch financial institutions and companies that work with goods with a high risk of tropical deforestation: palm oil, beef, pulp and paper, soy, rubber, cocoa and coffee.

ING, Rabobank and ABN AMRO injected 3.1 billion euros in loans into these goods between 2016 and 2021, two-thirds of which in palm oil and soy.

Pension funds, insurers and banks invested 362 million euros in the six goods at the end of 2020, three quarters of which in beef and palm oil.

'Ban deforestation from the business chain'

Milieudefensie wants the government to introduce a law on international corporate social responsibility, including a climate obligation that obliges organizations to ban deforestation from their supply chain.

In addition, the organization wants the Netherlands to argue in a European context for rules for the financial sector to be included in the Anti-Deforestation Act.

Among other things, the business community is being asked to use funding to leverage the transition from "industrial plantations owned by large companies to agro-ecological farming systems and forest management by the local population".

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