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While BankTrack has formally existed since early 2004, it is founded on activities that started already back in 1996. This overview tracks the roots of BankTrack and key events in our history.
March: Publication of briefing "We are unable to comment on specific customers..." - Challenging banks on client confidentiality.
September: Principles for Responsible Banking (PRBs) are launched by UNEP-Fi. We start a new campaign: Tracking the Principles for Responsible Banking.
November: BankTrack publishes its third Human rights benchmark, reporting and ranking human rights policies of 50 commercial banks.
December: BankTrack and other NGOs publish new research identifying the top financiers and investors behind the expansion of the world's coal fleet.
June : A North Dakota district judge throws ETP's claim against BankTrack out of court. A victory for common sense and a strong rebuke to the tactic of 'strategic lawsuits against public participation'.
July: Publication: Developing Effective Grievance Mechanisms in the Banking Sector. Briefing paper released with Oxfam Australia to set out banks' responsibilities to establish or participate in grievance mechanisms.
October: Fossil Banks, No Thanks!' campaign launched. A major new campaign calling on banks to stop financing the fossil fuel industry. www.fossilbanks.org.
Dutch NCP rules on ING complaint: Dutch national contact point for the OECD Guidelines rules banks must publish climate targets in line with Paris Climate Agreement.
In December BankTrack launches the Banks vs. the Paris agreement report, revealing that between January 2014 and September 2017, the global banking sector provided and mobilised financing in excess of USD 600 billion for the top 120 coal plant developers, via lending and underwriting.
In November BankTrack files its motion to dismiss the ETP law suit stating that it is an attack on the fundamental First Amendment rights of citizens and non-profit organisations engaged in public policy advocacy work.
In August Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline files a law suit against BankTrack and others, alleging that “a group of co-conspirators manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities and damaging Energy Transfer's critical business and financial relationships.”
In August BankTrack launches the Equator Banks Act campaign. With over 114,000 individuals and 249 groups signing, the campaign achieves its goal in committing the Equator Principles Association to a new set of Principles that stops the financing of climate disasters and fully respects Indigenous Peoples’ rights and territories.
In June BankTrack and other groups file a complaint against ING for violation of OECD Guidelines.
In February over 710,000 people worldwide sign petitions demanding banks to stop financing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In november, after over a year of preparation, BankTrack launches its new website.
In October BankTrack organises the first 'International bank campaigners gathering', convening over fifty bank campaigners from twenty countries for a three day training and strategy session. Participants call on BankTrack to make this a recurring event in the years to come.
March, following the brutal murder of Hondurese indigenous rights activist Berta Caceres, BankTrack takes the lead in convening an ad hoc NGO coalition that pushes for the Dutch development bank FMO to abandon the Agua Zarca project, opposed by Berta's organisation COPINH. In June FMO indeed announces its withdrawal from the project.
Early 2015, BankTrack dissolves its formal network structure. The former secretariat of the network reinvents itself as an independent tracking, campaigning and NGO support organisation, working closely not only with many of its former members but also with many new working partners on a range of campaigns.
At the end of 2014 we conduct an extensive internal discussion with our members on how BankTrack can best adapt itself to changing circumstances in both funder support and changing NGO cooperation habits; the result is a plan, BankTrack 2015, that sets out a new course for the future.
In November BankTrack launches a report on the human rights performance of private sector banks.
In September we launched a new website, www.coalbanks.org, exposing the role of private sector banks financing the coal industry.
Early 2014, following a training meeting with the European Environmental Paper Network we launched a new workstream focused on the role of Banks financing the palm oil and pulp & paper sectors.
Early February, BankTrack held its strategy meeting at the imposing castle of Diez, Germany.
Five new organisations join the network: the Australian finance campaign group Market Forces; the German Facing Finance campaign, the UK's World Development Movement; the Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES); and the London Mining Network.
In June, during the Rio+20 climate conference, BankTrack issues a highly critical statement on the Natural Capital Declaration.
The "Building BankTrack in BRICs" project sees BankTrack conduct training sessions to build NGO capacity for tracking banks in Brazil, China and Russia.
Greenovation Hub from China joins the BankTrack network.
BankTrack comments on the draft Equator Principles update (EPIII) in its report, Tiny Steps Forward.
Finance GreenWatch from Japan joins the BankTrack network.
The Bankrolling Climate Change report is released during the Durban Climate Change Conference, revealing the top 20 climate killer banks.
BankTrack makes its submission to the Equator Principles update process, The Outside Job.
In September 2010 a climate coordinator joins the secretariat.
In June the Palestinian organization BDS Movement joins BankTrack.
In May BankTrack launches a new website on nuclear energy and banks: http://www.nuclearbanks.org.
Also in May, the research report ‘Close the Gap' is launched, in which bank policies of 49 internationally operating banks are scored.
In January BankTrack holds a strategy meeting in Zurich, Switzerland.
Also in January BankTrack launches an open letter, signed by over 100 civil society organizations, urging Equator Principles banks to take ‘bold steps forward'.
In December BankTrack launches the updated Climate paper: "A Challenging Climate - What international banks should do to combat climate change".
Greenwatershed (China) and Amazon Watch (USA) join the network.
In November, BankTrack holds a strategy meeting in El Escorial, Spain.
In May, the BankTrack secretariat moves its offices from Utrecht to Nijmegen.
In December, BankTrack publishes "Mind the Gap", a major report on the credit policies of international banks.
In February, BankTrack published its position paper "Human Rights - Banking Risks"
In July, CEDHA from Argentina joined BankTrack network as members.
In January, BankTrack secretariat moves to a bigger office in Utrecht.
In February, two new members joined BankTrack at 1st formal network meeting in Zurich, Switzerland. The BankTrack network counts 14 members.
In January, BankTrack opens secretariat in Utrecht, Netherlands.
In September, BankTrack establishes an independent foundation to act as legal entity to represent the BankTrack network.
In June, BankTrack publishes its 1st anniversary assessment of the Equator Principles.
In January, twelve civil society organizations publicly launch BankTrack as a network at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The Quantum Leap project merges with the Netherlands based Focus on Finance (FoF) research project, coordinated by Dutch consultant firm AIDEnvironment.
In October, a meeting of finance campaigners takes place in Bakkum, the Netherlands. The Focus on Finance project is remodelled as an NGO network with an advocacy mission. FoF hires a full time coordinator to oversee development of this network. The Bakkum meeting is considered the formal birth of the network that later will become BankTrack.
In June, ten major banks launch the Equator Principles. FoF members active before and during launch, become prime target of work.
In January, release of the Collevecchio Declaration at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Some Collevecchio signatory organisations engage with private banks on draft principles for project finance.
Meeting of NGO campaigners in the Italian village of Collevecchio to draft the first civil society statement on the role of financial sector and sustainability. Over 100 civil society organisations sign up.
Private banks increasingly begin to feel the pressure of civil society. NGOs start highly visible campaigns on projects co-financed by private banks, such as the OCP pipeline in Ecuador, the Chad Cameroon oil pipeline, the Camisea gas project in Peru and the financing of oil palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia.
The Quantum Leap project conducts training in three continents.
Start of the Quantum Leap project, a project of Friends of the Earth and the National Wildlife Federation in the US. The aim of the project is to train campaigners to become financially literate and are able to influence the private financial sector. The project's newsletter 'The Bull and the Bear' informs the financial sector on civil society concerns.
US activists realised there was a need to focus on private financial institutions within international development operations, in addition to work on IFIs such as the World Bank.