Four local civil society organizations that work on the defense of socioenvironmental and climate rights have asked to join the legal case in which Conectas is calling on BNDESPar – a subsidiary of the BNDES (Brazilian Development Bank) – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If accepted, the organizations will participate in the case as amicus curiae (friends of the court), providing specialized insights to help the court make its decision.
The organizations are: Climate Observatory, Arayara International Institute, Collective Rights Institute and Health and Sustainability Institute. The requests, made during the second half of 2022, have yet to be analyzed by the court.
According to Júlia Neiva, director of strengthening the human rights movement at Conectas, the amicus curiae request reinforces the idea that society wants financial institutions that are committed to tackling the climate emergency and it also demonstrates that climate litigation is a viable strategy in Brazil. She went on to say that “the case is intended to promote a debate on the need for state-owned companies to incorporate the climate crisis as a key part of their investment plans and, at the same time, to operate with transparency and in accordance with social and environmental responsibility criteria”.
In June 2022, Conectas filed in the Federal Court of Brasília (Federal District) a lawsuit in which it calls on BNDESPar to publish a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will guide its investments according to the targets of the Paris Agreement and the PNMC (National Policy on Climate Change). This is the first lawsuit of its kind against a development bank anywhere in the world.
Although BNDESPar follows an Environmental and Social Policy for Operating in Capital Markets, which bans support for companies with a track record of environmental crimes and contemporary slavery, this policy does not include climate criteria. The company also does not report the carbon emissions associated with its investment portfolio.
In the case, Conectas is requesting that BNDESPar present a plan capable of reducing carbon emissions by 2030 in the sectors currently financed by the company, in accordance with the international commitments assumed by Brazil. In addition to presenting concrete goals, the plan should be prepared together with civil society, public bodies and academics, and it should provide for environmental and social compensation whenever the targets are not achieved. The case is awaiting judgment in the trial court stage.