SPOOF Santander posters have been appearing across Glasgow in an effort by climate campaigners to highlight the bank's funding of fossil fuels ahead of COP26.

Climate campaigners at the Bank Track group have had the posters placed in Glasgow bus stops two days ahead of the beginning of COP26.

Between 2016 and 2020 Santander spent 34.04 billion US dollars (£24.7bn) financing fossil fuel companies and projects.

The banking group has ambitions of becoming net zero by 2050 but campaigners have highlighted that Santander financed French oil and gas company TotalEnergies to the tune of $591m (£429.5m) between 2016 and 2020.

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The posters also highlight Santander's funding of Brazilian meat processing company JBS with $589m (£428m) between 2013 and 2018. JBS reportedly uses cattle sourced from farms using slave labour and is linked to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

The final company financed by Santander that is highlighted by BankTrack is PGE (Polska Grupa Energetyczna), which runs the worst CO2 emitting plant in the EU. The bank recently co-financed a €950m (£802.7m) loan to PGE.

There is a similar "subvertising" stunt taking place in Madrid to highlight the Spanish multinational bank's backing of fossil fuels. It comes on the global Finance Day of Action today when protests are being held against big banks funding fossil fuels.

The action comes amidst growing criticism of banks’ greenwashing in the build-up to the UN climate conference.

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Natasha Ion, climate campaigner at BankTrack, said: “It’s great to see campaigners drawing attention to fossil banks and their complicity in financing climate destruction.

"Santander has no policy exclusions in place for offshore and conventional oil and gas and also has no plan in place for phasing out finance to all fossil fuels.

"Without more concrete action on its fossil financing, Santander’s branding of itself as a sustainable and climate-conscious bank is nothing less than greenwashing.” 

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A Santander spokesperson said: "We recognise that climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing society today and we are committed to supporting a fast and fair transition to a green economy.

"We have been the largest provider of renewable energy project finance in the world for several years and our exposures to fossil fuels are also low relative to our peers.

"We have committed to aligning our power generation lending portfolio with the Paris Agreement, including ending the provision of financial services to power generation clients with more than 10% of revenues dependent on thermal coal by 2030, and eliminating all exposure to thermal coal mining worldwide in the same timeframe.

"We know there is still much to do and we are working hard to further decarbonise our lending portfolio and support customers by developing innovative green products and services."