South African activists and CSOs to hold protest during Standard Bank AGM in solidarity with EACOP affected communities in Uganda & Tanzania

  • On Monday, 12th June 2023, activists, and Civil Society Organizations in South Africa will stage a protest outside Standard Bank’s offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg as the bank holds its Annual General Meeting.
  • The protest will highlight the urgent need for Standard Bank to withdraw its support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) due to the threats it poses to the well-being and livelihoods of local communities as well as the environment.

Ahead of its General Assembly, the CSOs and StopEACOP coalition are asking Standard Bank to demonstrate leadership by divesting from environmentally harmful projects like EACOP and instead redirecting its investments towards sustainable and clean energy solutions which prioritise the provision of energy access to communities. By doing so, the bank can align its actions with the global imperative to promote low-carbon and inclusive economies and position itself as a responsible financial institution committed to addressing the climate crisis alongside socio-economic inequalities.

Sim Tshabalala – Group Chief Executive Officer, Standard Bank Group. Image credit: Standard Bank

Context

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is a proposed 1,443-kilometer (897-mile) pipeline transporting oil from Uganda to Tanzania. The pipeline is expected to cost $3.5 billion and be financed by a consortium of banks, including Standard Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

In 2022, Just Share and Aeon, two shareholder advocacy groups, filed a shareholder resolution with Standard Bank, requesting that the bank update its climate policy and set short-term and medium-term targets for reducing its financed emissions from oil and gas.

The bank is on record stating that it found the economic argument for the controversial EACOP project viable and that they were taking time to assess the environmental concerns. The StopEACOP campaign finds that statement hypocritical in the face of the negative reports about the impact the project will have on climate change, the negative impacts it is already having on frontline communities in the form of loss of land and livelihoods, not to mention the human rights abuses that have now seen 27 major banks distance themselves from the project. The latest is Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG).

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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