Zurich, Switzerland – Women from the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation and the Swiss Klimaseniorinnen (Senior Women for Climate Protection) are at Credit Suisse and UBS headquarters today demanding that banks stop financing oil pipeline companies. The activists have set up a tipi in front of the headquarters to protest the pipelines, which cut through land, threaten Indigenous rights and human rights, put drinking water and wildlife at risk of oil spills, and contribute to climate change.

“Our goal is clear, there must be justice and accountability for banks and corporations. Indigenous Peoples are in danger, we need Europeans to act, to divest, to organise within their respective nations to make their banks accountable for Indigenous human rights abroad. We need Europe to stand and fight alongside us,” said Michelle Cook, a Diné/Navajo human rights lawyer.

The Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation, organised by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), travelled to the heart of Switzerland’s financial district to demand that Swiss banks stop financing pipeline companies. They represent Indigenous Peoples from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the Oglala Lakota and Mdewakantonwan Dakota, the Diné/Navajo, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Louisiana’s United Houma Nation.  

They were joined by Klimaseniorinnen (Senior Women for Climate Protection), a people-powered movement of Swiss citizens over 65 who are suing the Swiss Government for its inaction on climate change.

This protest is the latest in a growing international movement to stand up for Indigenous and human rights and take climate action against pipeline companies like Energy Transfer Partners, Kinder Morgan, Enbridge and TransCanada, along with the banks that fund them. Energy Transfer Partners sued groups like Greenpeace International in the United States for nearly a billion dollars for supporting the Indigenous-led movement opposing the Dakota Access pipeline.

“Kinder Morgan investors need to know there is great uncertainty in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. I am travelling with the delegation to share the immense risks we are asked to bare and how committed we are to oppose this project,” said Charlene Aleck, Elected councillor for Tsleil Waututh Nation, Sacred Trust Initiative, Canada.

Greenpeace Switzerland published a new report today that revealed that, per capita, Swiss banks provide more funding for fossil fuel companies than any other European country.  

From 2015 to 2017, Credit Suisse and UBS provided more than US$12 billion in finance for fossil fuel companies, such as tar sands, deep sea oil, coal mining and coal-fired power plants. That works out at US$1,470 for every Swiss citizen over the past three years.

“We have taken action against the Federal Government because it’s doing too little to stop global warming. But Credit Suisse and UBS have a responsibility too. Banks must immediately stop lending to companies that exploit particularly dirty fossil fuels such as oil from tar sands,” said Elisabetta Dregde from the Swiss Klimaseniorinnen.

Major banks around the world are already pulling out of projects which fuel climate change. HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, is the latest to say it won’t fund new pipelines dedicated to the tar sands sector. French banks BNP Paribas and Natixis, Dutch bank ING, insurance and investment giant Axa and Sweden’s largest pension fund, AP7, all made similar announcements in 2017.

“Credit Suisse and UBS are continuing to gamble with our climate. Nature, our environment and the people affected tend to pay dearly for the short-term vision and greed of both banks. As long as extreme fossil fuels are still being produced, the carbon bubble and the financial climate risks will grow. These banks must take responsibility and break free from fossil fuels,” said Katya Nikitenko, financial expert at Greenpeace Switzerland.

Activists from Greenpeace Switzerland are calling on the major Swiss banks to submit plans by the end of this year outlining how they will bring all their financial flows in line with the Paris climate agreement.

ENDS

Notes:

See the report here: https://www.greenpeace.ch/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Greenpeace-Fossil-Fuel-Age-English-Final-Screen-2.pdf

See the  WeCAN Press Release for more quotes and details of the delegation including photos.

Photos:

Images will be added throughout the day here: https://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJXTA1WF

Contacts:

Katya Nikitenko, finance campaigner at Greenpeace Switzerland

+41 79937 6383, email: katya.nikitenko@greenpeace.org

Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) 011 415 722 2104

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org