On Monday (January 25th) banks, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas and ING announced that they will cease to finance trade of oil extracted from the Ecuadorian Amazon. This decision has isolated and increased pressure on the final two European banks continuing to support dangerous oil operations in the region: Natixis and UBS.
“There is no longer an excuse for banks to continue to profit from the climate crisis and the environmental and social disasters that the oil industry promotes in the Amazon. Some companies in the sector are showing that dirtying their own brand in destructive operations for the planet is just not worthy. We ask Natixis and UBS: do you really want to be the last European financiers of the destruction of such a special area of the largest tropical forest in the world?” – Ilan Zugman, 350.org Director for Latin America.
A report published last year revealed that since 2009 six European banks have been responsible for 85% of all bank-financed trade of oil extracted from the Amazon Sacred Headwaters region in Ecuador: BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, ING, Rabobank, Natixis and UBS. Despite announcing social and environmental commitments for their activities in Europe, all these banks continued to drive the expansion of a dangerous oil industry that has already contaminated thousands of kilometres of rivers in Ecuador putting dozens of communities at risk. The last major oil spill in the region, in April 2020, polluted the water sources of over 120,000 people, including 27,000 indigenous people.
This week’s announcement is the result of a bold campaign(1) led by a group of NGOs including Amazon Watch and Stand.earth alongside local organizations such as the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) and the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA). Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas and ING now join Rabobank in withdrawing their support for oil operations in the region. This leaves Natixis and UBS continuing to finance trade in the Ecuadorian Amazon and as a result, are now two key targets for the Amazon Resists campaign.
“The banks that finance the destruction of forests and rivers need to remember that life will suffer on the entire planet if nature continues to be attacked. That is why the decision to stop supporting oil and gas exploration in the Amazon is important for Indigenous Peoples, but also for all communities on Earth.” – Ninawá Huni Kui, president of the Federation of Huni Kui People from the State of Acre, Brazil.
Contact: Peri Dias
Email: [email protected]
Note to editors
1. About the campaign:
350.org supported the August 2020 campaign by sharing content about the report on its own website and social media. In addition, 350.org launched, in December 2020, the Amazon Resists campaign, with the objective of strengthening the voices of Amazon communities against the exploitation of gas and oil in the largest tropical forest in the world. The campaign’s first action was a protest in front of the hotel where the Brazilian government held, on December 4, an auction of oil and gas exploration areas in several regions of the country, including the Amazon.
2. Additional quotes:
Ilan Zugman, 350 Director for Latin America, said:
“This campaign coordinated by Amazon Watch, Standard.Earth and indigenous organizations from Ecuador showed that drawing the attention of the financial sector to the consequences of their operations is paying off. The communities affected by oil extraction in the Amazon deserve to have their rights to health, life, a balanced environment and the preservation of their culture respected. We can no longer tolerate that contaminating activities proceed in the Amazon Sacred Headwaters region”.
“The double standards held by the European banks, when they announce reductions in their emissions in rich countries, but finance the fossil industry and deforestation in developing countries is one of the facets of the climate colonialism that is still part of our time. If the executives of these banks listened to the very Indigenous Peoples of the regions in Ecuador affected by the oil leaks, they would understand that the whole planet is interconnected and that it is terribly hypocritical to continue financing the climate and environmental crisis in Latin America while pretending to care about the environment for the European public”.