Now Reading
Standard Bank is being criticized by activists for promoting mitigat…

Standard Bank is being criticized by activists for promoting mitigat…

Activists call out Standard Bank for talking up mitigat...

On Friday, 22 April, in their seventh demonstration against Standard Bank’s involvement in the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), activists from Extinction Rebellion gathered outside the Standard Bank head office in Rosebank, Johannesburg, to get the bank to withdraw any involvement in the EACOP project. 

The EACOPThe project plans to construct a pipeline that spans 1,400km across eastern Africa by 2025. It will transport crude oil between Uganda and Tanzania.

Based on several human rights and environmental impact assessments, this project will be the world’s largest heated crude oil pipeline, the StopEACOPCampaign said. “It will burn another six billion barrels of oil and generate over 34 million extra tons of carbon emissions each year.”

Extinction Rebellion activist Mduduzi Tshabalala said he took time away from his job as a street vendor selling vegetables and travelled from Sebokeng for this demonstration because, “this is going to affect everybody living in sub-saharan Africa”.

Tshaballa stated that he was from the Vaal region and therefore understands the real-life consequences of carbon emissions and the climate crisis.

“In the Vaal, specifically, we are affected mostly by air pollution that has been happening… because of the coal plants, steel plants and other chemical plants we have. For example, the Vaal Triangle has been designated as a priority for more 15 years.

“So we see the impact. Because today, in the Vaal, areas like Parys, for more than two decades, they haven’t had clean water, because the Vaal Water is seriously polluted.”

Mamosweu Tsoabi, Sebokeng, at the Extinction Rebellion demonstration outside the Standard Bank headoffice, Rosebank, Johannesburg on 22 April 2022. (Photo by Julia Evans).
Extinction Rebellion demostration against Standard Bank’s involvement in the East Africa Crude Oil Project on 12 March 2021. (Photo: Julia Evans
Mduduzi Tshabalala, an activist for Extinction Rebellion, travelled from Sebokeng to take part in the protest against Standard Bank. (Photo: Julia Evans

According to StopEACOP, almost a third of the EACOP pipeline would run through Lake Victoria. This lake is home to more than 40 million people. Depends For water and food production 

Mamosweu Tsoabi, a small-scale farmer from Sebokeng who attended the protest said, “I think this demonstration is very important for every living thing, because it’s all about climate change and things that impact climate change negatively.

“For example, I’m a farmer. So because of climate change, I’ve been affected,” said Tsoabi, explaining how extreme climate events like heat waves, droughts and floods have killed her crops, meaning she doesn’t have a source of income.

The StopEACOP campaign provided impact assessments that showed that over 100,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania would lose their land for farming and livestock raising. Many will be forced from their homes. Nearly a million people will be affected by the pipeline. 2,000 square kilometersProtected wildlife habitats

The EACOP project, which has $3.5-billion in investments, is in partnership TotalEnergies, the French energy company; the China National Offshore Oil Corporation; Uganda National Oil Company and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation.

Standard Bank Our Burning PlanetIt is participation in the funding of the EACOP project, “remains subject to the findings of environmental and social due diligence assessments and meeting the Equator Principles requirements”, adding, “It is also subject to a full assessment of the EACOP sponsors’ climate change strategies and targets”.

Standard Bank officials didn’t respond to the activists, but private security had set up barriers. (Photo by Julia Evans)
Mamosweu Taabi, a small-scale farmer from Sebokeng, spoke to passers-by. (Photo by Julia Evans)
Mduduzi Tshabalala (centre), a street vendor and climate activist, protested outside Standard Bank’s Rosebank head office, Johannesburg, on the 22 April 2022. (Photo by Julia Evans)

Standard Bank said Equator Principles Project Finance deals undergo due diligence assessments – covering legal, technical, security, market, reserves, and environmental and social considerations and concerns – which inform its decisions and that it employed independent environmental and social advisers.

“As part of this process, the advisers have visited the project area and will issue a full due diligence report in the coming months, at which time potential lenders will make a decision on the way forward.”

Standard Bank published its climate change targets at the end of the first 2022 financial quarter where it stated its commitment to, “to achieving net zero carbon emissions from its own operations by 2040 and from its portfolio of financed emissions by 2050, aligned to the Paris Agreement”.

It also requested the mobilization of R250-to R300 billion in sustainable finance by 2026. R50 billion of financing will go towards renewable energy. R15 billion of financing will be underwritten for renewable energy.

Standard Bank OBP, “As the World Bank has recently argued, Africa’s recovery from the pandemic, and its medium-term development both require a degree of openness to further investment in ‘brown’ activities. 

See Also
How a Union-Busting Behemoth Shook up Nevada’s Gold Country – Mother Jones

“Standard Bank agrees. Therefore, in certain tightly defined circumstances, the group will remain open to supporting ‘brown’ energy and mining projects in Africa.”

Sim Tshabalala, According to the Standard Bank Group chief executive, “In our view, a refusal to accept this would amount to denying Africa’s right to sustainable development. Over the past few centuries, Africa has suffered very high economic and human costs from other regions. 

“A total or immediate ban on further transitional projects in Africa in order to help reduce environmental pressure in much richer regions would be a cost too far.

“Having said that, our long-term goal is clear. The Standard Bank Group plans to achieve a portfolio mix that is net-zero by 2050. 

“That will entail reducing our financed emissions and simultaneously scaling up our financing of renewables, reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, decarbonisation and transition technologies, and supporting the development of credible carbon offset programmes.”

Extinction Rebellion activist Tshabalala said, “Climate change is here and it is affecting mostly people who are already disadvantaged.”

Saying, if he had a message it would be, “if you could please implement more renewable energy projects, that will benefit all – the environment. Not just people.” DM/OBP

Gallery

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.