This October 23-25, 91 banks will meet in São Paulo, Brazil to discuss their social and environmental commitments under the so-called Equator Principles, a set of rules guiding which big infrastructure projects they will and won't finance.

Now is the time for them to act on their supposed principles. They must stop financing climate change and respect Indigenous peoples’ rights. Sign now to demand that they make commitments to change.

These “Equator banks” have all promised to avoid or minimize the social, environmental and climate impacts of such projects, and to respect the rights and interests of Indigenous communities affected by them. However...

These Principles for banks to follow sound good – but they’re not working.

The Principles as they are written now are not stopping banks from financing disaster projects that are destroying our climate. Nor are these Principles stopping banks from trampling on the rights of Indigenous peoples, fully recognised in international law, to reject projects they do not want in their territories. Coal power plants, coal mines, tar sands exploration and transport, oil pipelines, fracked gas plants, deepwater oil rigs, oil exploration in the Arctic, and more have all qualified as ‘responsible’ projects under the Equator Principles, as have projects that violate international Indigenous rights. From the Americas to Australia, Indigenous peoples find themselves on the front line of struggles against fossil fuel extraction and transport projects, and also large hydro and other infrastructure projects that threaten their lands and way of life.

The U.S. Dakota Access Pipeline, fiercely opposed by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Lakota Tribes, and the Honduran Agua Zarca hydro project, where Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was murdered for leading the Lenca people’s opposition to the project, are but two examples of projects financed by banks under the Equator Principles.

We call on the Equator Principles Association to agree in Brazil to a full revision process for the Principles, so that they reflect at minimum two solid commitments:

Stop financing climate disasters:

  • Include a full commitment to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees, aiming for 1.5 degrees;
  • Include stringent and binding criteria that all projects to be financed under the Equator framework be fully aligned with reaching the Paris Agreement goals; and for this reason:
  • Explicitly exclude all new fossil fuel extraction, transportation and power projects from financing under the Equator Principles.

Respect Indigenous peoples’ rights and territories:

  • Include an explicit commitment to uphold the right of Indigenous peoples to give or deny free, prior, and informed consent for projects situated on territories they traditionally use and occupy;
  • Commit to not financing projects, neither directly or indirectly, that did not obtain such consent;
  • Strengthen due diligence and consultation processes to ensure that Indigenous peoples’ rights are fully respected;
  • Ensure that Indigenous peoples and other project-affected communities have full access to grievance channels with project sponsors and financing banks when their rights and interests are violated.

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