A Tale of Two Swiss Banks

Written by Amanda Starbuck

Topics: Coal, Finance

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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. UBS recently 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.

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