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Press release – Deutsche Bank 2015: Irresponsible, unlawful, reckless

Company should follow the divestment-course of other investors – No more money for climate offenders and mountain top removal– environmental catastrophe is looming through new investments in Bangladesh

Berlin/Köln, 19.05.2015 On the occasion of the upcoming Annual General Meeting of Deutsche Bank this Thursday (21.05.2015) the bank has been criticized by an alliance of environmental and human rights organizations (NGO’s). This is due to its complete lack of implementation of its assured culture change.

Most striking is the banks completely ignorant behaviour regarding climate protection and human rights. Deutsche Bank has for several years been one of the largest funders of global climate offenders and, in 2014, was the tenth largest financer of coal in the world, according to the “Banking on Coal” report.

“Deutsche Bank has continuously made claims that it seeks to protect the climate. But in reality, it is helping to speed up climate change and appears unwilling to change even during the Year of Climate 2015.” states Katrin Ganswindt of Urgewald. In this process, no client is too controversial and no method too devastating for Deutsche Bank.

Thus, Deutsche Bank still maintains business relations with corporations like Alpha Natural Resources or Metinvest that mine coal using the Mountaintop-Removal-Method (MTR). As a result of this process entire mountaintops in the American Appalachian Mountains are blown up to get to the underlying coal. The method pollutes drinking water and air and leads to severe health impacts. “Dozens of banks state that they will no longer finance corporations specialising in Mountaintop removal, including Barclays, BNP Paribas, RBS, Société Générale, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and ING. But Deutsche Bank keeps examining and re-examining the situation related to divestment and cannot ultimately make up their minds. It’s about time to put the cards on the table and get rid of their MTR-clients” Paul Corbit Brown of Keepers of the Mountains from the Appalachian Mountains demands.

At the end of January 2015 Deutsche Bank, along with other banks, facilitated the sale of a 10% stake in the coal corporation Coal India Limited. This company had serious and sustained negative publicity related to numerous environmental offences, such as operating coal mines without environmental permits, serious work accidents, and disastrous living conditions in coal-mining areas. But the criticisms related to this client have fallen on deaf ears at Deutsche Bank.

Environmentalists have another of the banks clients in sight: the Indian National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). NTPC plans to construct the coal-fired power plant Rampal in Bangladesh in a joint venture with the Bangladesh Power Development Board. Rampal will be constructed only 14 km away from sensitive mangrove forests, which have a UNESCO Natural World Heritage listing due to their unique characteristics. UNESCO and environmental experts fear the power plant construction will cause massive damage to the mangrove forests. “Some international investors such as the Norwegian Pension Fund Global have removed NTPC from their portfolio due to the environmental dangers posed by the power plant construction. At the same time the operators are reaching out to investors and fiscal sponsors for the Rampal project. We want a clear statement from Deutsche Bank stating that they will stay out of this business.”, Maha Mirza of the “Save the Sundarbans”-Projekt of Bangladesh requests.

“The commitment by Deutsche Bank to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights can be seen as a farce” states Thomas Küchenmeister of the NGO Facing Finance. He deplores the banks ignorance regarding human rights, “If it is true that respecting human rights is of fundamental concern for Deutsche Bank, then why does it continue to support business relationships with some of the most disgraceful arms companies like Heckler & Koch and Rheinmetall?”. Other clients of this scandalous sector prone to corruption are nuclear weapons producing BAE Systems, Boeing and Airbus Group as well as cluster munition producers ATK. All in all, thirteen companies producing nuclear weapons were funded with capital through credits and bonds.



Contact Persons:

Thomas Küchenmeister, managing director Facing Finance e.V., +49 (0)175 4964 082 +++

Dr. Barbara Happe, urgewald-expert on weapons industry, +49 (0)172-681 44 74 +++

Katrin Ganswindt, urgewald-expert on coal-investments, +49 (0)176 324 111 30 +++ (also for intervies requests with Maha Mirza)

Weitere Informationen:

Bericht „Banking on Coal 2014“, Banktrack:


NGO-letter on the issue of Rampal to Deutsche Bank (German):


Report „Dirty Profits 3“, Facing Finance: