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Credit Suisse faces OECD Guidelines complaint in Switzerland over financing for Dakota Access Pipeline owners in USA, concerns over indigenous rights

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Article
18 October 2019

Credit Suisse commits to safeguards for indigenous groups in project financing following conclusion of OECD case over Dakota pipeline

Author: Anand Chandrasekhar, Swissinfo.ch

"Credit Suisse promises safeguards for indigenous groups after Dakota pipeline intervention", 17 Oct 2019

In 2017, Swiss NGO Society for Threatened Peoples filed a complaint against Credit Suisse with the Swiss National Contact Point of the [...] OECD over their financial relationship with firms involved in the Dakota pipeline... [B]oth parties agreed on an outcome this September that was published on Tuesday...  

Credit Suisse will include the requirement of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of affected communities in its sector guidelines for partners in the oil and gas, mining, forestry and agribusiness...

In a statement [...] the bank said, “Following the conclusion of a constructive mediation process facilitated by the NCP, we are amending our respective sector policies to incorporate aspects regarding human rights and indigenous peoples even more specifically. We take our responsibility towards all our stakeholders very seriously and appreciate an ongoing productive dialogue.”  ...

The Society for Threatened Peoples welcomed the move as a “first step” towards incorporating the rights of indigenous communities but were disappointed that the bank was only planning to apply it to project financing...

[It] emphasised that while it “highly values the NCP” the OECD guidelines are non-binding.  

“The NCP should therefore by no means be understood as an alternative to the Responsible Business Initiative...” 

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Article
28 April 2017

Greenpeace gatecrashes Credit Suisse shareholder meeting

Author: Joshua Franklin, Reuters (UK)

Activists from environment group Greenpeace gatecrashed Credit Suisse's annual shareholder meeting on Friday to protest against the Swiss bank's dealings with companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)... Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-biggest bank, said in April it was not involved in project financing for the DAPL... The 1,172-mile (1,885-km) Dakota Access line running from North Dakota to Illinois drew international attention in 2016 after the Standing Rock Native American tribe sued to block completion of the final link, saying it would desecrate a sacred burial ground... Environmentalists also argued that potential leaks along its length would risk poisoning the water supply for some 17 million Americans.

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Article
28 April 2017

Society for Threatened Peoples files OECD complaint against Credit Suisse at the OECD National Contact Point (NCP) Switzerland

Author: Society for Threatened Peoples

The North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in the United States has generated massive protest over several months because it threatens the local indigenous communities’ main drinking water source and a leak of the pipeline may affect 17 million people downstream. Moreover, important cultural sites will be destructed. The indigenous communities have not adequately been involved in the project...in breach with UNDRIP [UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples]. Furthermore, an ample Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was cancelled. For these and other reasons, UN Special Rapporteurs have heavily criticized the project and urged to halt it. Consequently, numerous financial institutions have divested from DAPL, expressed their concerns or publicly distanced themselves from the project. 

Despite growing awareness and criticism of DAPL, Credit Suisse has increased even further its business relations with DAPL-related companies Entergy Transfer Partners L.P (ETP), Energy Transfer Equity L.P. (ETE) and Sunoco L.P. Credit Suisse plays a leading role in financing and advising these companies and is a significant investor in their shares. Especially critical are the services and products provided by Credit Suisse after December 2016... STP files [today] a complaint at the OCED National Contact Point of Switzerland against Credit Suisse. It contains mainly the following allegations: First, Credit Suisse is in breach with the principle to carry out risk-based and human rights due diligence... Second, Credit Suisse as a key bank in providing funding and financial advice to DAPL-related companies, as well as a significant investor in shares of these companies, failed to actively encourage its investees to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts of the project...

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Article
1 March 2017

Current Topics: Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)

Author: Credit Suisse

In view of the high level of public attention and criticism that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has attracted, we want to respond to questions about Credit Suisse's involvement in the project and to state our position regarding this matter. 

We have repeatedly heard or read that Credit Suisse is playing an important role in the construction of the DAPL. What is the nature of Credit Suisse's involvement in the financing of the DAPL?

Credit Suisse is not involved in project finance for the DAPL... Like numerous other banks, Credit Suisse has business relations with companies that are involved in the DAPL project...

We understand that there are different viewpoints and we are conducting a dialogue with various groups of stakeholders in this specific case – including NGOs, networks and the indigenous population affected by this matter.

Credit Suisse is also engaging in a dialogue with NGOs and networks – including Greenpeace and representatives of the affected indigenous population – regarding the DAPL... In the period since December 2016, various personal meetings and phone calls have taken place between representatives of Credit Suisse and Greenpeace, other NGOs and networks, as well as representatives of the Standing Rock Sioux. In addition, Credit Suisse has responded to around 40 client letters and 2,000 e-mails relating to the DAPL...

Various banks have since refrained from providing further loans to the conglomerate involved in the DAPL project (ABN Amro, Bayerische Landesbank and BNP Paribas). Why is Credit Suisse maintaining its business relations with it?

The companies referred to were directly involved in the financing of the DAPL – unlike Credit Suisse

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