New Report Shows Connection Between Wall Street and Amazon Shortage - Latest Global News

New Report Shows Connection Between Wall Street and Amazon Shortage

According to a study by environmental activists, some of the largest Wall Street banks do not adequately consider the risks posed by their business relationships with oil and gas companies in the Amazon rainforest.

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(Bloomberg) — Some of Wall Street’s biggest banks are not adequately considering the risks posed by their business relationships with oil and gas companies in the Amazon rainforest, according to a study by environmental advocates.

The report, published by the Stand.earth Research Group, identifies six banks that it says have been responsible for nearly half of all direct financing of oil and gas production in the Amazon over the past 20 years.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Banco Santander SA and Bank of America Corp. failed to “fully address the negative impacts of their financings,” the researchers said. The sixth bank – HSBC Holdings Plc – was singled out for a reversal in its policies.

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“Most of these banks claim to be committed to human rights and environmental protection, but with the exception of HSBC, they continue to finance the activities of public and private oil and gas companies in Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador,” the report’s authors write.

A JPMorgan spokesperson said the bank supports human rights and reviews “sensitive business activities.” Spokespeople for Citigroup and Bank of America pointed to their latest risk management policies, which outline due diligence obligations and explain the expectations customers must meet.

Itau Unibanco said by email that it was “working to combat deforestation.” A Santander spokesman said the bank “fully understands the importance of protecting the Amazon” and is working with its customers.

A spokesman for HSBC, which stopped financing oil and gas projects in the Amazon in 2022, said the bank’s “approach is to focus on real emissions reductions as we support our clients in implementing the energy transition.”

According to Stand.earth and the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin, an umbrella organization representing more than 500 indigenous peoples, banks are now formulating their environmental and social risk policies very narrowly in order to reduce meaningful impact assessments.

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In some cases, the area requiring verification is less than a fifth of the Amazon, the report’s authors estimate. Some transactions are structured in a way that makes them harder to trace, the report’s authors also said. Many deals are syndicated and due diligence is often reduced.

“There is a real lack of transparency in the data,” said Angeline Robertson, author of the report and researcher at Stand.earth, in an interview. She and her colleagues are calling on governments in the region to enact stricter regulations.

The warning comes as global temperatures break previous records and push the nine-country Amazon region closer to ecological collapse. Destruction in the Amazon skyrocketed in the first four months of this year due to increasing fires and a lack of preventive monitoring, Brazilian environmental officials said last month.

The organizations are calling on banks to support the global agreement that aims to protect 80 percent of the Amazon region.

“We are literally living in a rainforest that is burning, our rivers are either polluted or drying up,” said Fany Kuiru, general coordinator of COICA, in a statement. Global banks “must be held accountable.”

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