Occupy: ING bank does not belong at UM ethics symposium

Occupy: ING bank does not belong at UM ethics symposium

Symposium harms UM’s image

31-05-2023 · News

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics has invited ING bank and retirement fund PGGM for a symposium on ethics. Occupy Maastricht wants the faculty to withdraw these invitations. Both parties invest in the fossil industry on a large scale.

Only last week, ING bank had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority because of a misleading commercial, in which the impression was given that the bank only supports green projects. According to Occupy Maastricht, “ING is the largest fossil bank of the Netherlands,” the campaigners write in an open letter addressed to UM. ING allegedly still finances fossil infrastructure such as oil rigs, and is the sixth largest investor of terminals for Liquid and Natural Gas (LNG).

According to the action group, pension fund PGGM has proclaimed that the fund will not withdraw from the fossil industry but does want to achieve change by "continuing to partake in talks". Occupy believes that this is not the right strategy.

The action group feels that UM should put pressure on both parties to change their minds. They certainly do not belong at a symposium on business ethics, also because this increases the risk of greenwashing and unjustly gives these companies a green image.

According to Occupy, this also harms UM’s image. “It diminishes the credibility of an institute that prioritises sustainability.”

UM is planning to invite the students from Occupy Maastricht to the symposium, UM spokesperson Koen Augustijn states. "That is where parties can ask each other critical questions and exchange points of view.”