Geopolitics

Indigenous Groups To Rally Outside Major Bank Meeting

Indigenous, Environmental, And Climate Justice Groups Rally Outside Equator Principles Meeting, Demand Stronger Commitments

Despite global standards, world’s biggest banks continue to fund environmentally damaging projects that disregard Indigenous communities’ rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent

Equator Principles

What: This week in Washington, major global banks are meeting to revise the Equator Principles, industry-led due diligence standards that should prevent banks from supporting environmentally and socially harmful projects. At the same time, some of those same banks are re-upping their support for Enbridge, the Canadian company behind the Line 3 tar sands pipeline, which violates Indigenous rights and is flatly incompatible with the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Banks renewing their support for Enbridge comes on the heels of the publication of a landmark U.N. report showing the desperate urgency of taking concrete steps to tackle the climate crisis.

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When: Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 11 AM – 12 PM EDT

Where: 2121 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037, United States

Who: The rally is being organized by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), Honor The Earth, Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Market Forces and Sierra Club.

Speakers will include:

  • Wasté Win Yellowlodge Young(Ihunktowanna/Hunkpapa of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer)
  • Jessica Parfait (United Houma Nation, Graduate student at Louisiana State University exploring impacts of oil and gas on Houma tribal communities)
  • Tara Houska(Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe, Tribal attorney, National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, and former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders)
  • Michelle Cook(Diné, Human rights lawyer, and Founder and Co-Director of the Divest, Invest, Protect campaign)
  • Leoyla Cowboy(Diné, member of The Red Nation, and community organizer for the Water Protector Legal Collective)
  • Osprey Orielle Lake(Executive Director of WECAN and Co-Director of the Divest, Invest, Protect campaign).

Visuals: Colorful banners, Indigenous women in traditional regalia

Further Background: Major banks from the US and around the world called for a “do over” and a “second chance” after funding Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) Dakota Access Pipeline without the consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. After the human rights abuses at Standing Rock, banks said they would reform the Equator Principles.

The Equator Principles Association is bringing together over 90 international banks in Washington DC, Oct 16-18, who have signed on to adhere to a voluntary set of standards for financial institutions to assess social and environmental risk. These standards are intended to provide a minimum standard for due diligence and monitoring to support responsible risk decision making. Had these standards been stronger, banks would have not financed the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Banks are involved in a revision process until 2019 that could more effectively address concerns about potential rights violations and environmental degradation. Before 2019, critical projects - including ETP’s Bayou Bridge Pipeline, Enbridge’s Line 3 and TransCanada’s Keystone XL -- still receive support from Equator Principle banks. Banks must be held accountable for the funds they provide to their clients and their contributions to Indigenous rights abuses and climate chaos.

Relevant Links: 

FPIC Warning Letter to Banks: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Crédit Agricole Warned Not to Finance Tar Sands Pipeline Companies

Equator Principles Revision Letter: 45 Organizations to Equator Principles Association

Press Release - Indigenous Women’s Delegation Takes Fossil Fuel Divestment Demands To New York City and Washington D.C.

Report: Major Banks are failing Vietnam by violating Equator Principles commitments in financing coal power projects