U.S. Senators Send Letters to BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase on Amazon Crude

Letters from Senators Whitehouse and Schatz request financial institutions address the climate and social risk of financing oil companies operating in the Amazon and other high-impact areas

Amazon Watch

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Ada Recinos at +1.510.473.7542 or ada@amazonwatch.org

On March 22nd, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Brian Schatz sent letters to BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase regarding their investments in oil companies operating in the Amazon. The letters shine a spotlight on the negative impacts of oil extraction in the region and the financial and social risk associated with investing in fossil fuel companies. While acknowledging that climate risk disclosure is an important first step, the letter requests that BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase share additional information about how they plan to mitigate this risk going forward.

The letter comes in the wake of an Amazon Watch report, Investing in Amazon Destruction, which documents how BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, and JPMorgan Chase, one of the world's largest banks, bankroll oil companies operating in the Amazon on the territories of Indigenous peoples without their consent.

Amazon Watch Executive Director Leila Salazar-López made the following statement in response to the letters:

"We applaud Senator Whitehouse and Senator Schatz for their letters to BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase regarding the financial institutions' continued investments in oil companies operating in the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon is the lungs of Mother Earth and the home of many Indigenous nationalities that for millenia have called the rainforest their home. They – and we – cannot afford for BlackRock and JPMorgan to continue investing in extractive industries that destroy rainforests, violate human rights, and worsen climate change.

"As the Senators' letter reminds us, climate change also poses a significant financial risk to the economy, especially for the fossil fuel industry and its financial backers. Investing in companies with particularly controversial operations, like those located on Indigenous territories in the Amazon rainforest, poses an outsized risk because of local opposition. Not only that, but these projects may violate international and national laws requiring free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous communities.

"It is time for BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, and other financial institutions to engage with activists and shareholders concerned about the impacts of their investments and, ultimately, to put their money where their mouths are by divesting from oil companies operating in the Amazon rainforest.

"While these financial institutions remain silent and continue business as usual, Amazonian women face death threats for defending their territories and standing up against the oil and mining industry. In recent days many of them occupied the presidential plaza in Quito, Ecuador until the Ecuadorian President agreed to meet with them to discuss their demand of no new oil or mining activities on their ancestral lands. They are raising their voices not only to protect their land but also to ensure a livable planet and a collective future for us all. Everyone, including financial institutions like BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase, should head their courageous call to action."

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