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Swiss banks continue to finance the Amazon oil trade

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Several major banks, including UBS and Credit Suisse, remain involved in financing and investing in the oil and gas industry in the Amazon rainforest, according to a new report released Thursday by environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Stand.earth and Amazon Watch.

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In a statement, lead author Angeline Robertson said, “The banks’ environmental, social and good governance (ESG) policies fail to manage risk adequately, fail to prevent the destruction of the Amazon, and fail to address the urgent need to stop the global expansion of fossil fuels.”

UBS and Credit Suisse are listed as “high risk” institutions, whose investments and financing contribute to the destruction of the Amazon. Both companies hold bonds issued by PetroAmazonas, a unit of PetroEcuador, Ecuador’s national oil company.

NGOs report that both large Swiss banking groups provide financing to “problematic oil traders”, such as Gunvor and Vitol, which have been implicated in recent corruption scandals. The institutions in question do have policies in place, but consider corruption only as “a business risk.”

Moreover, Credit Suisse continues to fund the oil trade in the Putumayo region of the Colombian Amazon, despite strong indigenous resistance and brutal police crackdowns, “despite existing biodiversity and human rights policies that explicitly prohibit (the bank) from doing so.”

Lack of ESG policies

“The ESG policies adopted by the banks are flawed and permit money to continue to flow to companies involved in oil expansion, deforestation, biodiversity loss, pollution, corruption, and violating indigenous rights,” says Robertson.

According to Le Temps, UBS said the report contained “certain methodological flaws.” The institution said it is “committed to respecting the highest environmental and social standards.” It said it has refused to conduct transactions that are “verifiably associated with violations of those standards.”

On its part, Credit Suisse says it is “committed to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity, and promoting human rights”. The bank with two veils regularly reviews and updates its sector-specific guidelines, citing the introduction of “additional restrictions on fossil fuel financing”.

Credit Suisse participated with two other institutions in issuing a $150 million bond for GeoPark, a Chilean oil company operating in the Colombian Amazon. GeoPark is suspected of using paramilitary groups to ensure the continuation of its activities in indigenous territories.

For MetaNews.

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Jonathan Hobbs is an Australian investor and author that trades on a variety of asset classes, including currencies, equities, and commodities. Jonathan’s experience as a macro trader leverages his unique writing style to combine important elements, such as technical analysis and news. The other elements that he brings into his unique writing styles are foundation analysis aimed at rational equilibrium values, evaluating the sizes and motivations of buyers and sellers, as well as identifying the needs of the buyers and sellers in the individual markets. Jonathan is committed to quality writing for new traders as well as veterans.

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