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Activists from Peru to Uganda are Urging Deutsche Bank to Discontinue Fossil-Fuel Financing

Published on: 28 June 2022 10:57 AM
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Climate activists from Peru to Uganda will descend on Deutsche Bank's headquarters in Frankfurt this week to demand that the country's largest lender stop financing fossil fuel companies.

The demand comes as Deutsche Bank positions itself as a lender to which businesses can turn as they transition to a greener future, a strategy that the bank sees as critical to accomplishing its turnaround and increasing profitability.

On Monday, two indigenous Peruvian elders and numerous climate activists met with Deutsche Bank sustainability workers to urge that the bank discontinue collaborating with the Peruvian state oil company Petroperu, which they claim is hurting animals and streams in the Amazon.

Fridays for Future activist Luisa Neubauer from Germany and Evelyn Acham from the Rise Up Movement in Uganda will also meet with Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing on Tuesday to request that the bank disassociate itself from an African oil pipeline development.

Although Sewing has stated that sustainability is "at the heart of our approach," many campaigners believe the bank is not doing enough.

In a blow to its environmental credentials, Deutsche Bank's fund business DWS is facing allegations of "greenwashing" for allegedly misleading investors about the sustainability of its investments. The charges have been disputed by DWS.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the discussions or contacts with Petroperu but said it understood and appreciated the activists' demands and points of view.

"We are committed to reducing our CO2 emissions and, in particular those of our loan portfolio, to net-zero by 2050," it said.

Peru's government wants to restart oil production in some of its dormant Amazonian reserves as global crude prices skyrocket due to supply concerns related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

According to Petroperu, Deutsche is the main bank for a $1.3 billion loan and played a crucial role in recent talks with creditors to extend a deadline for the energy firm to produce its 2021 audited financial accounts.

Petroperu's bonds tumbled after it missed the deadline, prompting rating agencies to downgrade it to junk status.

Petroperu was able to modernise a refinery and process additional crude oil thanks to bank finance.

Shapiom Noningo Sesen, an indigenous leader of the Wampis Nation who attended Monday's discussions, said he asked Deutsche to reconsider its involvement and that activists would continue to put pressure on the bank until it drops Petroperu.

He claimed that due to pollution, villagers could no longer eat fish and that chemicals were ending up in their blood.

Petroperu didn't respond to a request for comment. It said this month it was "committed to caring for the environment through responsible practices".

Amazon Watch official Ricardo Perez said he would also visit other banks to persuade them to stop doing business with Petroperu.

But for now, his focus was on Deutsche, which Perez said: "has invested in the biggest driver of new oil production in the Amazon for the next decade".

Source: Reuters

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