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A tale of two Swiss banks

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Dodgy deals
By Rainforest Action Network | San Fransisco, US, Oct 20 2010

We've been keeping our eyes on the Swiss alps as we fight to stop the destruction of Appalachia's beautiful mountains.

The reason? International banking giants provide major finance to some of the coal companies who blow up mountains to mine coal and the biggest global funder of mountaintop removal (MTR) is the largest Swiss bank, UBS.

Today we heard some good news from the other major Swiss bank, Credit Suisse, who has published summaries of their lending guidelines.

The exciting part for me is in the section "Excluded Activities Involving Mining Companies".Specifically, Credit Suisse says:

"iii. Mountaintop removal mining. Credit Suisse will not finance or provide advice on operations to extract coal or other resources where mountaintop removal mining practices are used."

This is a full-sector exclusion and the best-yet published policy on MTR by any bank that we have seen. We already knew that this was Credit Suisse's position - they confirmed this to us in writing when we did our report card on MTR earlier this year. However, making this - and all their environmental lending policies - truly public is a major step forward in transparency for the bank.

All eyes are now on UBS to see whether they will keep up with their banking competitor. UBSrecently commented, on Swiss radio station WRS, that "we are currently reviewing our risk management approach involving transactions with MTR companies and are in discussions with stakeholder groups."

Credit Suisse's full list of summaries is available here. This includes policies on oil & gas, hydropower, forestry& forest products and palm oil.

Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse Group was founded in 1856 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It serves companies, institutional clients and high-net-worth private clients worldwide,…
UBS
Modern UBS was formed through a merger of the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corporation in June 1998.  UBS is headquartered in Zurich and Basel and it…
Mountain top removal coal mining
United States
Mountain top removal (MTR) mining is a form of strip mining in which coal companies use explosives to blast as much as 800 to 1,000 feet off the tops of mountains order to…
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