Cape Town - Activists from Extinction Rebellion Cape Town (XR CT) demonstrated at the Standard Bank, Thibault Square branch, demanding the bank “clean up their act” and stop funding all fossil fuel projects.
The group staged a symbolic cleaning performance at the branch, taking a stance against the bank’s involvement in the development of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
According to the StopEACOP website, the project threatened to displace thousands of families and farmers from their land, and posed significant risks to water resources and wetlands in both Uganda and Tanzania – including the Lake Victoria basin, which over 40 million people rely on for drinking water and food production.
XR CT spokesperson Michael Wolf said: “Today is Standard Bank’s AGM, where they’ll discuss the bank's policy with regards to investing in fossil fuel projects such as the EACOP project. We are hoping to dissuade them from investing in this disastrous oil pipeline project.
“Further expansion of the fossil fuel industry, including the construction of new oil pipelines and related infrastructure, is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, which the bank committed to support under the UN’s Principles for Responsible Banking, as it requires a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry,” said the spokesperson.
XR CT member Ann Duncan said the bank was being thoroughly irresponsible and not sticking to their own environmental policies, let alone trying to contribute positively to the world's efforts.
“If we don’t leave all the fossil fuels in the ground from now on, we will continue to have terrible climate conditions, floods, fires. Unfortunately it’s the ordinary people that suffer the brunt of these environmental effects,” said Duncan.
Standard Bank spokesperson Ross Linstrom said the bank was following its own internal processes and, along with its banking partners, has retained the services of an independent environmental and social adviser relating to the EACOP project.
“As part of this process, the advisers will visit the project area and will issue a full environmental and social due diligence report, at which time Standard Bank Group will make a decision on the way forward,” said Linstrom.