Today, 350.org and members of the #StopEACOP coalition, joined by dozens of collectives and NGOs around the world, are holding a coordinated Global day of action asking Standard Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Standard Chartered to step away from the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The actions are taking place in seventeen cities – Kampala, Johannesburg, Goma, Cape Town, London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Brussels, Sendai, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Amsterdam, Toronto, Copenhagen and Vancouver.
They demand that these banks withdraw from and publicly refuse to finance the EACOP, emphasizing the project’s non-compliance with the Equator Principles (EPs), to which all three are signatories. The EPs refer to a financial industry benchmark for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk for project financing. A 2022 report from BankTrack, AFIEGO and Inclusive Development International assessed EACOP and associated oil fields against internationally recognized environmental and human rights standards for financial institutions and found numerous violations, putting banks at risk if they sign on to support the project. Among the violations identified by the report were involuntary resettlement, threats to community leaders and environmental defenders and risks of irreversible damage to sensitive ecosystems.
Standard Bank (South Africa) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) (Japan) are financial advisors to the project’s operators and are reportedly helping to arrange multi-billion dollar project financing to construct the EACOP. Standard Chartered (UK) has not ruled out financing the project.
Maxwell Atuhura environmental rights defender and Chief Executive Officer of Tasha Research Institute Africa (TASHA) said,
“Standard Bank and SMBC’s involvement in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project as financial advisors, having full knowledge of its impacts on people, nature and the climate shows blatant disregard of the future of our planet and generations to come. These financial institutions and others lending their financial muscle to harmful fossil fuel projects, must recognise their role in fuelling the climate crisis that is devastating communities. It’s time these institutions make a conscious effort to transition towards more sustainable and ethical investments.”
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) threatens to displace thousands of families and farmers from their land, severely degrade critical water resources and Ramsar designated wetlands, and rip through numerous sensitive biodiversity hotspots. Community and civil society resistance to the project has been met with numerous human rights violations.
Baraka Lenga, climate change activist based in Tanzania said,
“We urge Standard Bank and SMBC to reconsider their involvement in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. Our land, water, and natural resources are integral to our livelihoods and culture, and this pipeline poses a significant threat to our well-being and future. We implore the banks to stand with us by prioritizing the health and safety of our communities, as well as the preservation of our environment. Let us work together towards sustainable development that benefits everyone, instead of supporting a project that will only bring harm to our beloved home.”
Photos and videos of the actions will be available here
Notes to editor :
More than 50 financial institutions including banks, insurers and export credit agencies have already refused to finance or insure EACOP.
In November 2022, the insurer Britam Holdings decided not to support the EACOP project for non-compliance with the Equator Principles.
The European Parliament has condemned EACOP for its associated human rights abuses in Uganda and Tanzania.
The pipeline and associated Tilenga oil field are expected to displace almost 118,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania.
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is a planned 1,443-kilometer pipeline in Uganda and Tanzania, which if constructed, would be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world. The oil transported via the pipeline would generate 34 million tons of carbon emissions at peak, each year. The main operators of the multi-billion dollar project are the French oil major TotalEnergies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), along with the Governments of Uganda and Tanzania.
For interviews and additional information contact:
Communications and Digital Associate, StopEACOP
South Africa Digital and Communications Specialist,