Press Release: Cultural shift light – German Bank is sustainable on the spot

Bild: © Katrin Krämer

Berlin / Frankfurt, 21. May 2014  The Association of Critical Shareholders, Facing Finance, Urgewald, Oxfam Germany, Friends of the Earth Europe, Pax Christi, Rettet den Regenwald, Robin Wood present Black Planet Award at Deutsche Banks’ Annual General Meeting.

A broad coalition of environmental and human rights organisations are calling on the Deutsche Bank to finally start the much-needed cultural change towards a sustainable operating bank.

The NGOs protest on Thursday before the Annual General Meeting of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt in large numbers and in a creative way against their destructive business policy, and they will present the International ethecon Black Planet Award. “This award goes to the two CEOs Fitschen and Jain as well as the major shareholders of Deutsche Bank , as they are in many ways involved in the destruction of our earth and turn it into a black planet ,” says Axel Köhler Schnura from the Foundation ethecon.

“A bank that claims to act according to high environmental and social standards must not take advantage of massive climate damage , human rights violations and international arms deals ” writes Thomas Küchenmeister, managing director of Facing Finance.

The environmentalists point towards the financing of coal by Deutsche bank. “Deutsche Bank likes to present itself as a climate protector and climate ambassador,” says Heffa Schücking, director of the environmental organization Urgewald. “At the same time it is one of the top financiers of the coal mining industry worldwide. Between 2005 and January 2014, it has helped large coal companies worldwide to almost 15 billion Euros. They do not shy away from financing controversial companies such as Coal India, or fracking, which cause massive environmental destruction and climate damage. This schizophrenia between aspiration and reality of Deutsche Bank must end at last. Deutsche Bank must stay away from destructive projects and companies, “stated Schücking.

Currently, the German bank is under pressure, as on the east coast of Australia, a deep-sea port will be expanded to transport coal. This is only 50 kilometers from the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef on earth. The coal port expansion threatens the sensitive ecosystem. “What is being planned just in Abbot Point, is a threat to the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef is, and therefore for all the based there industries that depend on a healthy environment,” said Tony Brown, president of the Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association (Association marine tourism operators on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef). “The Deutsche Bank should not consider supporting the expansion of the coal harbor with all its serious environmental risks financially. I will appeal to the general meeting of Deutsche Bank to Messrs. Jain and Fitschen, not to participate in such an environmental scandal and exclude categorically all finance. ”

Even large weapons manufacturers – and thus nuclear weapons and drones – are still funded by the Bank. At the same time, the bank is benefiting in a big way from the global trade in arms. Just for nuclear weapons manufacturers maintains the German banking business currently amounting to almost 3 billion euros. The Bank therefore supports maintaining, upgrading and development of a new weapon system, the use of which is threatening our livelihood. The global disarmament approach “Global Zero ” ( Global waiver ), the support , the federal government , the Bank does not follow obviously .

The NGO coalition also opposes the provision of financial services for land grabs and human rights abuses of palm oil companies like Wilmar in Indonesia, Uganda, Nigeria and Liberia.

Criticism also comes the continuing involvement of the Bank in food speculation. According to the UN (FAO), food prices have risen to a record high last year. Development organizations and multilateral institutions like the World Bank believe that commodity futures banks have enormous influence on the prices of food and can drive up. “The Deutsche Bank is still one of the largest international speculators with food,” says David Hachfeld, food speculation expert at Oxfam. “While other banks have long since dropped out, the Bank still offers its customers investment funds to bet on rising prices of agricultural commodities. If prices explode, people in developing countries can no longer afford to buy food. Rather than adjust their risky transactions that German bank drives a game with the public. Two years ago they announced a comprehensive examination of food speculation, but to date the Bank has failed to publish anything substantial. ”

Contact person * inside:

Thomas Küchenmeister, Facing Finance, +49 (0)175-49 64 082

Heffa Schücking, Director, urgewald: +49 (0)160-9676 1436

Tony Brown, President of the Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association (to reach Mrs Schucking)

Axel Köhler-Schnura und Linda Spieckermann, ethecon – Stiftung Ethik & Ökonomie, +49 (0)151 54724127

David Hachfeld, Oxfam Deutschland, +49 (0)176 24 11 23 61

Markus Dufner, Association of critital shareholders/Dachverband der Kritischen Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre,  +49 (0)221/599 5647

Stefanie Hess, Robin Wood, +49 (0)1578-023 88 08 and Anne van Schaik, FoE Europe: +-31-6-24343968 (about palm oil)

For more information:
Before and at the Annual Meeting of the Deutsche Bank representatives will speak and protest. The topics range from the controversial investments in palm oil copmanies as well as land rights conflicts and arms deals. From 8.30 clock different actions take place before the festival hall.

If you’re interested, please contact: barbara@urgewald.de / +49 172 6814474 or via kuechenmeister@facing-finance.org / +49 (0) 175-49 64 082 for more information or interview requests.

The counter-motions of the umbrella organization and NGOs are under www.kritischeaktionaere.de .

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