What: A Global Day of Action targeting banks that support the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) will be held on the 22nd of February. Actions will take place across more than ten countries, in cities including: London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Frankfurt, Brussels, Sendai, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Goma, Cape Town, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Vancouver.
Who: Activists will be targeting Standard Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Standard Chartered. They are demanding that these banks step away from the controversial East Africa Crude Oil Project project: watch the Call to Action video here
Why: 350.org and members of the #StopEACOP movement, joined by dozens of collectives and NGOs around the world, are ramping up the pressure on Standard Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Standard Chartered. They demand the withdrawal of these banks from EACOP, emphasising the project’s non-compliance with the Equator Principles (EP), to which these banks are signatories.
Standard Bank (South Africa) and SMBC (Japan) are financial advisors to the project’s operators and are reportedly helping to arrange a multi-billion dollar project finance loan to construct the EACOP. Standard Chartered (UK) has expressed interest in financing the project. To date, 24 banks have already refused to finance the project.In addition, in November 2022, the insurer Britam Holdings decided not to support the EACOP project for non-compliance with the IFC Performance Standards, which is the standard that underpins the Equator Principles.
About the EACOP Project :
The East African Crude Oil pipeline, or EACOP, is a planned 1,443-kilometer pipeline in Uganda and Tanzania. It threatens to displace thousands of families and farmers from their land, severely degrade critical water resources and wetlands in Uganda and Tanzania, and rip through numerous sensitive biodiversity hotspots. The oil transported via the pipeline would generate 34 million tons of carbon emissions each year. The main backers of the multi-billion dollars project are the french oil major TotalEnergies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)
On the 7th of February this year, Inclusive Development International and ten human rights and environmental organizations in Uganda and Tanzania, which are remaining anonymous due to fear of reprisals, filed a complaint to the U.S. government alleging that New York-based insurance giant Marsh, a member of the Marsh McLennan group, violated international guidelines for responsible business conduct by serving as insurance broker for the highly controversial East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
The European Parliament has condemned EACOP for its associated human rights abuses in Uganda and Tanzania. The pipeline and associated Tilenga oil field are expected to displace almost 118,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania.
About the Equator Principles:
The Equator Principles (EP) are a Financial industry benchmark for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects. They are intended to serve as a common baseline and risk management framework for financial institutions.
A 2022 report from BankTrack, AFIEGO and IDI (Inclusive Development International) assessed EACOP and associated oil fields against internationally recognized environmental and human rights standards for financial institutions and found numerous violations, putting banks at risk if they sign on to support the project. The assessment suggests that the project does not comply with many of the criteria set forth in the Equator Principles and the Environmental and Social Performance Standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), two internationally recognized standards for responsible finance.
Yet, Standard Bank and SMBC, two official financial advisors of the EACOP project, and Standard Chartered, who has still not officially ruled out to finance the project, are all signatories of the Equator Principles.
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