The meeting, which took place shortly before Lagarde’s first official parliamentary hearing in the European Parliament today, was attended by a delegation of five representatives of all 165 signatories of the open letter published last week in the media. Participants included Stanislas Jourdan (Positive Money Europe), Sandrine Dixson-Declève (Club of Rome), Erwan Malary (Caritas France), Benoît Lallemand (Finance Watch), and Ester Asín (WWF-EU).
During the meeting, Christine Lagarde confirmed that she intends to include climate change considerations in the ECB’s strategic review due next year. While welcoming this important step, NGOs insisted that the review process must be open to civil society contributions, to ensure a plurality of views can be taken into account.
“I very much hope that as part of the review, we can also – if the Governing Council agrees – include climate change, in order to determine how the ECB could play a role,” Lagarde said later in the afternoon at the Parliament’s ECON Committee.
The open letter, which was signed by a diverse group of academics, trade unions, NGOs and environmental activists, expressed support for Lagarde’s ambition to make climate change mission-critical, while urging the ECB to deliver more rapid policy changes.
“It is particularly shocking that the ECB – in the name of market neutrality – is still buying assets on a massive scale from companies involved in carbon-intensive and fossil fuel-related industries,” the letter reads. “If the ECB is truly concerned by climate-related risks, it should recognise that its current monetary policy is part of the problem and is reinforcing a dangerous status quo.”
Erwan Malary (Caritas-France) said: “We are thankful for Mrs Lagarde for having taken the time to engage with us today to discuss the content of the open letter which Caritas France instigated several weeks ago. We are delighted with the impact that this letter has had so far. A much wider discussion on the possible involvement of the ECB in tackling the climate crisis can now start, both inside and outside the ECB.”
Stan Jourdan (Positive Money Europe) said: “Positive Money Europe worked tirelessly for the past four years to bring climate change on top of the ECB’s agenda. It is a huge reward for our work that the ECB’s strategic review will include climate change considerations. Looking forward, it is critical that the design of the review process will be open for civil society contributions, in order to reduce the risk of cognitive biases.”
Ester Asin (WWF-EU) said: “President Lagarde wants to fight climate change: this ambition must be rapidly turned into action. As a priority, the European Central Bank must stop supporting carbon-intensive sectors like fossil fuels and dramatically increase its purchases of green bonds – particularly from the EIB – in order to finance an ambitious European Green Deal.”