Dozens of People Take Action to End Big Business of Burning as Arson in Brazil and Indonesia Destroy Rainforests
Action follows the launch of Fires Week of Action, targeting megabank MUFG for funding deforestation and fossil fuel expansion
September 4, 2020
Minneapolis –– A coalition of dozens of activists and community leaders rallied at the MUFG Minnesota corporate banking office in Minneapolis to hold one of the top funders of deforestation and fossil fuels, Japanese megabank MUFG, accountable for its financing practices. MUFG is the parent company of the US-based Union Bank.
MUFG has been fueling the climate crisis as one of the world’s top funders of palm oil, which is driving rainforest destruction and forest fires, and the sixth-largest global banker of fossil fuels. Since 2016, MUFG provided over $500 million in loans to the palm oil operations of a major conglomerate that is considered one of the most culpable companies for the recurrent fires in Indonesia. MUFG is also financing every major tar sands project that’s currently in development. They’re involved in all three active loans to Keystone XL’s TC Energy, including as documentation agents for two of them; and in six active loans to Line 3’s operator Enbridge, totaling $10.5 billion.
Local activists held signs that said “MUFG: Stop the Big Business of Burning Rainforests” and delivered a petition with nearly 18,000 signatures calling on the bank to stop financing egregious climate destruction and violations of human rights in Indonesia and Minnesota.
“Rainforests around the world are being burned for profit, destroying critical habitats and pumping hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere,” said Richard Fuller, a local activist in Minneapolis. “Meanwhile, MUFG continues to fund the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, which threatens Minnesota’s water and violates the Indigenous rights of the Anishinaabe people. This can’t go on. MUFG must act decisively and stop its financing of the climate catastrophe through funding fossil fuels and big agribusiness.”
The agribusiness industry is behind the majority of deforestation and the burning season that follows it. The fires are lit deliberately, to clear land for the production of commodities such as palm oil, soy, cattle, and pulp & paper. Global financial actors then provide the billions of dollars needed to produce those commodities.