Daniel Taillant Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente (CEDHA) 00 54 351 425-6278; cel. 00 54 9 351 625-3290 firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA) this week filed an unprecedented compliance complaint to the ING group of the Netherlands and BBVA of Spain, for the alleged violation to the Equator Principles of two International Finance Corporation (IFC) paper pulp projects on the Argentine-Uruguayan border.
The complaint calls for the banks' attention to the IFC Compliance Advisory Ombudsman’s (CAO) recent report which sustained many of the arguments against the paper mills originally presented by CEDHA on behalf of 40,000 local stakeholders whose environment and livelihoods would be devastated by what is to be the world’s largest paper pulp production using second rate technology already phased out in Europe for 2007.
CEDHA demands that both banks uphold its commitment to the Equator Principles, originally signed in 2003 by a group of investment banks committed to sustainable development, and now adhered to by over 30 international private banks, including ING and BBVA. The Equator Principles state signatory bank adherence to basic commitments to sustainable and responsible development and investment, environmental and social projection, and ground their commitments to IFC’s Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies.
Given the CAO’s findings that the IFC’s pulp mill projects in Uruguay violate IFC environmental and social safeguards, that proper consultation with stakeholders did not occur (a key element of the Equator Principles), and the many accusations faced by these projects of violations of international law, CEDHA requests that ING and BBVA suspend all consideration of financing these projects, initiate internal investigations into the Equator Principle Compliance Complaint allegations, and that it adhere to the CAO recommendations. Furthermore, CEDHA asks ING and BBVA to publicly inform clients, customers, stakeholders and the general public on its position with respect to the suspension (or otherwise) of consideration of financing the projects.
As a global citizen responsible for promoting responsible environmental stewardship and socially responsible development, and as a signatory to the Equator Principles, ING and BBVA have a moral, ethical and professional obligation to uphold its commitment to the Equator Principles and must respond to stakeholder and public complaints and concerns over its projects.
BankTrack fully supports both claims and works with CEDHA to seek an adequate response from both banks.