Natixis Joins BNP Paribas in Stopping Business Linked to Tobacco

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French bank Natixis SA said it’s decided to stop doing business with companies linked to tobacco, joining other lenders distancing themselves from the industry.

Natixis will end financing and investment activities for tobacco producers, manufacturers, wholesalers and traders, the Paris-based bank said in a statement Tuesday. The decision applies to all Natixis businesses, including corporate and investment banking and asset management. Existing investments will be wound down over time, a spokeswoman said.

Last month, BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank, announced that it would halt transactions and investments related to the sector and “progressively disengage” from relationships with tobacco clients. Some financial firms are retreating from industries deemed unethical or socially unsustainable: insurer Axa SA and Bank of New Zealand are among those abandoning the tobacco industry in recent years.

By excluding tobacco from the bank’s financing and investment activities, “we are reinforcing our engagement with civil society,” Chief Executive Officer Laurent Mignon said in the statement. He noted that Natixis has sponsored the Fondation Gustave Roussy, a fundraiser for a leading European cancer research center, since 2011.

Natixis last week joined Societe Generale SA and BNP Paribas in ending financing for some oil projects that cause high levels of greenhouse-gas emissions or environmental disruption.

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