Second round of engagements with US banks and financiers to stop funding SMC and Shell underway
Protect VIP, a coalition of communities, sectors, and advocates for the protection of the Verde Island Passage (VIP), demanded the end of fossil fuel financing including that of Bank of America whose investments in San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and Shell lead to fossil gas infrastructure in the Verde Island Passage, dubbed as the ‘Amazon of the oceans.”
Bank of America, the third largest financier of fossil fuels, was met with protests outside of its headquarters in New York as the UN Climate Week continues. The bank has channeled financing of USD 375 million to SMC and USD 1,546 million to Shell who are among the prominent developers of fossil gas in the VIP.
“As we once again meet with US banks and financial institutions to challenge their continued funding of the fossil fuel industry in one of the most biodiverse hotspots in the world, we are one with the thousands of people in this Climate March to let them know that there is a strong and growing opposition to their destructive financing activities. They must keep their hands off the Verde Island Passage,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) and co-convenor of Protect VIP.
Protect VIP is engaging with US banks during the UN Climate Week as a follow-up to its meetings with Wall Street institutions and investors of SMC and Shell such as BlackRock, Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo last July 2023.
“Over the past year, the Philippines witnessed huge strides in the renewable energy auction, with around 5.5GW of renewable energy sources set to come in. This momentum clearly highlights that we have the capacity to leapfrog towards a just and clean energy future – establishing that fossil gas has no role to play in energy transition. Banks must end fossil fuel financing and fully support the growth of genuinely clean energy,” said Arances.
“United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that “humanity has opened the gates to hell” and banks and financial institutions have unlocked that gate by pouring billions into the fossil fuel industry. In the case of the Philippines, US banks must put a stop to funding SMC and Shell as it destroys the Verde Island Passage and delays the energy transition,” added Arances.