From Peru to Uganda, activists call on Deutsche Bank to ditch fossil finance

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FRANKFURT, June 28 (Reuters) – Climate activists from Peru to Uganda are descending on Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE) headquarters in Frankfurt this week to demand Germany’s biggest lender stop funding fossil fuel companies .

The request comes as Deutsche Bank markets itself as a lender businesses can turn to as they transition to a greener future, a strategy it sees as key to securing its own recovery and boosting profits.

On Monday, two Peruvian indigenous leaders and several climate activists met with Deutsche Bank staff in the sustainability department to ask them to stop working with Peru’s state oil company Petroperu, which they say , harms wildlife and waterways in the Amazon.

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German Fridays for Future activist Luisa Neubauer and Evelyn Acham of Uganda’s Rise Up movement will also meet Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing on Tuesday to urge him to steer the bank away from a proposed pipeline in Africa.

Sewing said sustainability was “at the heart of our strategy”, but for many campaigners the bank is not doing enough.

In a blow to its green credentials, Deutsche Bank’s fund unit DWS is facing allegations of so-called “green laundering” for allegedly misleading investors about the sustainability of its investments. DWS denied the allegations.

Deutsche Bank declined to discuss the meetings or its relationship with Petroperu, but said it understood and appreciated the activists’ demands and views.

“We are committed to reducing our own CO2 emissions and in particular those of our loan portfolio to net zero by 2050,” he said.

In Peru, the government wants to boost oil production in some of its dormant Amazon fields as global crude prices soar on supply fears over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more

Deutsche is a lead bank for a $1.3 billion loan for Petroperu and played a key role in recent talks with creditors to extend the deadline for the energy company to deliver its 2021 audited financial statements, according to Petroperu.

Failure to meet this deadline prompted credit agencies to downgrade Petroperu to junk status and drive down its bonds. Read more

Bank financing helped Petroperu upgrade a refinery to increase its capacity to process more crude oil.

Shapiom Noningo Sesen, an indigenous leader from the Wampis Nation and participant in Monday’s meetings, said he had asked Deutsche to reassess its role and that activists would keep the pressure on the bank until it drops Petroperu .

He said locals could no longer eat fish because of pollution and toxins were getting into their blood.

“These companies are just playing with our lives, our culture and our history,” he said through an interpreter.

Petroperu did not respond to a request for comment. He said this month he was “committed to caring for the environment through responsible practices”.

Ricardo Perez, an Amazon Watch official, said he would also visit other banks to pressure them to end their relationship with Petroperu.

But for now, he was focused on Deutsche, which Perez said “has invested in the biggest engine of new oil production in the Amazon for the next decade.”

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Additional reporting by Marco Aquino in Lima Editing by Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tom Sims

Thomson Reuters

Covers German finance with a focus on big banks, insurance companies, regulation and financial crime, previous experience at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times in Europe and Asia.

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