Last month, BBVA, a global bank headquartered in Spain, announced its updated project finance policy,  where it specifies that the transportation of tar sands has been explicitly added to its list of prohibited activities.


Effectively, this means they have committed to not fund tar sands pipeline projects! These are the toxic pipelines projects that have been threatening rivers and ecosystems, Indigenous rights and our climate.


Greenpeace activists protest at BBVA bank headquarters for their involvement in the destruction of the environment in Canada.


Greenpeace has been asking the list of Dirty Dozen banks to make stronger commitments when it comes to the financing of tar sands pipelines. Because of our global reach, activists around the world were able to bring this message to BBVA’s doorstep! From the bank’s headquarter in Madrid to offices abroad, people power helped move this financial player to make the right move. Actions also included leaving messages at its ATMs.


The activists of Greenpeace Mexico have installed killer whales in the main BBVA tower in Mexico City, demanding to confirm that this company does not finance the construction of pipelines. BBVA is among the 12 global banks identified by Greenpeace, which continue to have links with toxic tar sands and duct companies projects.


Actions organized by Greenpeace Spain and Greenpeace Mexico were backed up by more than 400,000 people like you.  All over the world individuals took the time to learn about our campaign and signed the petition asking the banks to stop funding the tar sands oil pipeline sector.



BBVA and tar sands


Although BBVA had previously communicated that it had established sectoral standards for environmental and social diligence, among which the ban on the exploration and production of tar sands stood out, they had not included a prohibition of finance tar sands oil pipelines projects. These are the critical infrastructures necessary for the expansion the tar sands in Alberta (Canada).


The oil sector in Canada is hoping on building three new pipelines from the open-pit mines of tar sands in Alberta to the Pacific coast and through the midwest of the United States. The construction of these pipelines would in effect prolong the exploitation of tar sands oil, using as much as 15% of the world’s total carbon budget. It is no wonder these pipelines have been compared to the wicks of a global carbon bomb.



BBVA and Energy Transfer


It should be noted that BBVA has not yet excluded Energy Transfer as a client. This is the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, the project that generated massive opposition at Standing Rock. The company had not only ignored concerns from local communities it also went further by filing a lawsuit against Greenpeace and others to try and silence our opposition. It didn’t work, their claims were recently dismissed by a federal judge.


Stepping out of tar sand pipelines may be insufficient, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. And it is all thanks to the thousands of people around the world who have been pushing so this small change could be realized. See what we are capable of when we rise together.


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