Eye on the Amazon

New Amazon Watch Report Highlights Links Between Big Finance, Amazon Crude Oil Extraction, and Indigenous Rights Violations

Activists urged to Join the #StopTheMoneyPipeline to take on Wall Street!

Photo credit: Amazon Watch

In our newest report, Investing in Amazon Crude, and an activist guide, Building People Power to End Investment in Amazon Crude, Amazon Watch details the ways that five of the world's most powerful financial institutions – Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and BlackRock – actively contribute to climate change by providing debt and equity financing for crude oil extraction projects in the Amazon.

Our research demonstrates how, in the past three years alone, these "Dirty Five" Wall Street firms have made available tens of billions of dollars for oil companies operating in the Amazon, including GeoPark, Amerisur, Frontera, and Andes Petroleum. Each of these oil companies holds oil field leases in the western Amazon that directly overlap with the ancestral territory of Indigenous peoples who have vehemently opposed oil drilling.

This continued investment in Amazon crude comes despite these Wall Street firms' commitments to "sustainability," like BlackRock's January promise to "fundamentally reshape finance to deal with climate change." But words are not enough: banks and asset managers must back up their commitments with action by rapidly ramping up climate-risk standards across sustainable funds as well as their entire portfolios. Crude oil extraction in the western Amazon region is not only terrible for the climate but also a major risk for these financial institutions given the precedent of legal resistance and forceful intervention from Indigenous communities.

There has never been a more important time to join the climate movement! Gone are the days when Wall Street could distance itself from its involvement in dirty fossil fuels and deforestation commodities. Voicing the mounting concern for this issue, Stop the Money Pipeline – a diverse coalition of groups calling for an end to the financing of environmental destruction – formed earlier this year to end Wall Street's bankrolling of the industries causing the climate crisis. Online and in-person actions will happen throughout the next several months – sign up here to take part!

By joining Stop The Money Pipeline, you join a nationwide network targeting a range of institutions for their role in financing companies involved in fossil fuel extraction and deforestation, the two largest drivers of climate change: BlackRock – the world's largest asset manager and largest investor in fossil fuels and deforestation-linked commodities with over 7.4 trillion USD in assets under management, Liberty Mutual – a top insurer of and investor in fossil fuel projects, and JPMorgan Chase (the number one banker of fossil fuels). Students are also pressuring their universities to divest their endowments from fossil fuels – just last month, there were divestment rallies on over 50 campuses across the country for Fossil Fuel Divestment Day.

Our new report is the latest in a series. Before the Amazon fires brought worldwide attention to the importance of protecting the Amazon rainforest for the global climate, Amazon Watch was already warning the climate movement about the role that big finance was playing in supporting such destruction. In two key reports, Complicity in Destruction and Investing in Amazon Destruction, Amazon Watch research unveiled the ways that major international financiers were directly funding the companies most responsible for deforestation and oil extraction in both the western Amazon (in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia) and the eastern Amazon (Brazil). Similarly, our latest report highlights the links between major finance and crude oil extraction, as well as the organized resistance that such projects currently face from Indigenous peoples in the region.

In order to defend the Amazon, support Indigenous peoples, and protect the climate, we must stop the money pipeline!

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