Banks: respect the planet & human rights; until then, we’re divesting

By consensus at our Oct. 1 meeting, OCA signed onto the Equator Banks, Act! petition, asking the major banks of the world to live up to their commitment to support people and the planet–it’s time to match their words with actions. The petition is below; you can sign on yourself at equatorbanksact.org.

We also signed on to the bank boycott organized by Mazaska Talks; you can sign on as an individual at https://mazaskatalks.org/move-your-money/

#DefundPipelines • #EquatorBanksAct • #FossilFreeSalishSea​

MAZASKA TALKS PLEDGE: “We pledge to not do business with the 64 banks funding new tar sands projects. Those of us who are current customers of the banks specified by Mazaska Talks pledge to break ties within 12 months, and to inform the bank of our reasons for doing so.”

Equator Banks, Act! Petition
Stop financing Climate Disasters
Respect Indigenous peoples’ rights and territories

This October 23-25, 91 banks will meet in São Paulo, Brazil to discuss their social and environmental commitments under the Equator Principles.

While these Principles are to ensure that adopting banks do not finance projects with a large negative impact on people and planet, Equator Banks continue to support projects that pose a massive threat to the world’s climate, such as coal, oil and gas extraction, transportation and power generation projects. Equator Banks also continue to finance fossil fuel and other projects that trample on the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples.

We are appalled that the Equator Principles as formulated today allow Equator Banks to finance projects that are a disaster for the world’s’ climate and for Indigenous peoples. For the Principles to be a meaningful sustainability commitment they need to be fully overhauled.

We therefore call on the Equator Principles Association…

 

…to agree in Brazil to a full revision process for the Principles, so that they reflect at minimum two solid commitments:

1. Stop Financing Climate Disasters:

  • include a full commitment to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees, aiming for 1,5 degrees;
  • include stringent and binding criteria that all projects to be financed under the Equator framework be fully aligned with reaching the Paris Agreement goals; and for this reason:
  • explicitly exclude all new fossil fuel extraction, transportation and power projects from financing under the Equator Principles.

2. Respect Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Territories:

  • include an explicit commitment to uphold the right of Indigenous Peoples anywhere in the world to give or deny Free, Prior and Informed Consent for projects situated on territories they traditionally use and occupy;
  • commit to not financing projects, neither directly or indirectly, that did not obtain such consent;
  • strengthen due diligence and consultation processes to ensure that Indigenous Peoples’ rights are fully respected;
  • ensure that Indigenous Peoples and other project-affected communities have full access to grievance channels with project sponsors and financing banks when their rights and interests are violated.

In Brazil, Equator Banks face a choice between deepening their collective commitment to effectively stop financing climate change and respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights, or see the Equator initiative become irrelevant for meeting the pressing social and environmental challenges the world faces today. We expect that the Equator Banks will act decisively on this call.