Other Group

Notre Affaire à Tous

Website:

notreaffaireatous.org/

Type:

Climate Litigation

Formation:

2015

Location:

Paris, France

Notre Affaire à Tous (roughly translated “Our Business to All”) is a French environmentalist organization that uses legal means to pressure companies and other organizations, including the French government, into following left-of-center environmentalist policies. 1

The organization filed a lawsuit against BNP Paribas, a multinational bank, in February 2023 due to its “massive support to fossil fuels and for its substantial contribution to climate change.” It also filed lawsuits against oil company Total and the French government regarding environmental practices. 2 3

Background

Notre Affaire à Tous, which roughly translates to “Our Business to All,” is an environmentalist litigation organization based in France. The organization was created in 2015 after the ruling of the Urgenda Foundation v. State of the Netherlands. 4

The Urgenda Foundation, a Dutch environmental organization, sued the Dutch government to push it to address climate change. The court ordered the Dutch state to limit carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent below emissions recorded in 1990 by 2020. 5

Since its inception, Notre Affaire à Tous has been involved in multiple lawsuits related to environmentalism.

Activities

BNP Paribas Lawsuit

Notre Affaire à Tous, alongside Friends of the Earth France and Oxfam France, sued BNP Paribas, a multinational bank, in February 2023 due to its “massive support to fossil fuels and for its substantial contribution to climate change.” 6

BNP Paribas, one of Europe’s largest financial institutions, is accused of financially supporting companies that develop new gas and oil fields. The lawsuit was filed in February 2023 under the corporate duty of vigilance law in France, which requires large businesses headquartered in the country to set measures to mitigate environmental damage. 7

BNP Paribas stated it regretted that the NGOs chose litigation rather than dialogue as it could not halt all funding for fossil fuels immediately. 8

According to the bank in January 2023, it had ceased financing for oil projects in 2016 and aimed to reduce outstanding financing for oil extraction by a quarter by 2025. The bank also stated that it had approximately, as of the end of September 2022, €23.7 billion (around $25.8 billion) in outstanding loans for fossil fuels. 9

BNP Paribas joined the United Nations Net Zero Banking Alliance in 2021 and began to divest from coal in 2019. After being served a notice by the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the lawsuit, BNP Paribas pledged to cut financing for the extraction of oil by 80 percent and gas by 30 percent by 2030 and would focus on low-emission gas power plants that are in line with European Union investment rules. 10

Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. France

The organization, alongside Greenpeace France and Oxfam France, wrote a formal letter of notice to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 12 members of the French government in 2018. The letter was part of a legal proceeding known as an action for failure to act. 11

According to the environmentalist groups, the French government failed to implement effective measures that address left-of-center environmentalist principles including increasing renewable energy, limiting energy consumption, and reducing emissions. 12

The letter was rejected by the French government, which led to a lawsuit at the Administrative Court of Paris in 2019. The court ruled in favor of the NGOs in February 2021 that the inaction by the French government caused ecological damage. 13

Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. Total

The organization, alongside 13 municipalities in France and four other NGOs, issued a letter of formal notice to the oil company Total in June 2019. The letter claimed that Total was responsible for more than two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in France. 14

The NGOs stated that Total had three months to include emission reduction targets in its “due diligence” plan before filing the lawsuit. 15

The NGOs then requested Total be legally ordered to change its practice to align with the organizations’ goals of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, 34.7 Fahrenheit. The complainants also asked the court to order Total reduce its net emissions by 40 percent by 2040. 16

The case was ongoing as of August 2023.

Funding

Notre Affaire à Tous received substantial grants from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in August 2021 and June 2022, both for its “fossil fuel campaigns.” 17

References

  1. Justice, Natural. “Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. France.” March 1, 2022. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://naturaljustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Notre-Affaire-a-Tous-and-Others-v.-France.pdf.
  2. “French NGOs take BNP Paribas to court in world’s first climate lawsuit against a commercial bank.” Oxfam International. February 23, 2023. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/french-ngos-take-bnp-paribas-court-worlds-first-climate-lawsuit-against-commercial.
  3. Justice, Natural. “Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. France.” March 1, 2022. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://naturaljustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Notre-Affaire-a-Tous-and-Others-v.-France.pdf.
  4. Cournil, Christel, Antoine Le Dylio, and Paul Mougeolle. “L’affaire du Siècle.” JSTOR. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26910933.
  5. “Urgenda Foundation v. State of the Netherlands.” Climate Change Litigation. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://climatecasechart.com/non-us-case/urgenda-foundation-v-kingdom-of-the-netherlands/
  6. “French NGOs take BNP Paribas to court in world’s first climate lawsuit against a commercial bank.” Oxfam International. February 23, 2023. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/french-ngos-take-bnp-paribas-court-worlds-first-climate-lawsuit-against-commercial.
  7. Kaminski, Isabella. “Climate campaigners sue BNP Paribas over fossil fuel finance.” The Guardian. February 27, 2023. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/feb/27/climate-campaigners-sue-bnp-paribas-over-fossil-fuel-finance.
  8. Rosemain, Mathieu. “Activists sue BNP over energy loans, TotalEnergies over human rights.” Reuters. February 23, 2023. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/bnp-paribas-sued-france-over-fossil-fuel-financing-2023-02-23/.
  9. Rosemain, Mathieu. “Activists sue BNP over energy loans, TotalEnergies over human rights.” Reuters. February 23, 2023. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/bnp-paribas-sued-france-over-fossil-fuel-financing-2023-02-23/.
  10. Kaminski, Isabella. “Climate campaigners sue BNP Paribas over fossil fuel finance.” The Guardian. February 27, 2023. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/feb/27/climate-campaigners-sue-bnp-paribas-over-fossil-fuel-finance.
  11. Justice, Natural. “Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. France.” March 1, 2022. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://naturaljustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Notre-Affaire-a-Tous-and-Others-v.-France.pdf.
  12. Justice, Natural. “Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. France.” March 1, 2022. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://naturaljustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Notre-Affaire-a-Tous-and-Others-v.-France.pdf.
  13. Justice, Natural. “Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. France.” March 1, 2022. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://naturaljustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Notre-Affaire-a-Tous-and-Others-v.-France.pdf.
  14. “Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. Total.” January 28, 2020. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://climaterightsdatabase.com/2020/01/28/notre-affaire-a-tous-and-others-v-total/.
  15. “Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. Total.” January 28, 2020. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://climaterightsdatabase.com/2020/01/28/notre-affaire-a-tous-and-others-v-total/.
  16. “Notre Affaire à Tous and Others v. Total.” January 28, 2020. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://climaterightsdatabase.com/2020/01/28/notre-affaire-a-tous-and-others-v-total/.
  17. “Notre Affaire a Tous.” Rockefeller Brothers Fund. August 26, 2021. Accessed August 21, 2023. https://www.rbf.org/grantees/notre-affaire-tous.
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