ClientEarth v. Belgian National Bank
Jurisdiction: Court of First Instance
Side A: ClientEarth (Ngo)
Side B: Belgian National Bank (Government)
Whether the Belgian National Bank's purchasing of bonds from fossil fuel companies violated EU law.
On April 13, 2021, ClientEarth filed suit against the Belgian National Bank for failing to meet environmental, climate, and human rights requirements when purchasing bonds from fossil fuel and other greenhouse-gas intensive companies. The Belgian National Bank has participated in the European Central Bank's Corporate Sector Purchase Program (CSPP), in which six national central banks purchase bonds from eligible companies to improve financing conditions by lowering debt costs. ClientEarth alleges that over half of bonds purchased under the CSPP were issued by greenhouse-gas intensive sectors, and that the program therefore exacerbates the climate crisis. ClientEarth alleges that the Belgian National Bank's participation in the CSPP, by not taking into account climate, environment, and human rights impacts, violated Article 11 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and Article 37 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (both concern the obligation to integrate environmental protection into EU policies). As part of its case, ClientEarth seeks a preliminary reference to the European Court of Justice to determine whether the decision to establish the CSPP was lawful.