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Those banks destroying the Planet

Author: Maciamo Hay. Written in October 2021.

Rainforests cover less than 2 percent of Earth's total surface area, but are home to 50 percent of Earth's plants and animals. The Amazon rainforest alone contains around 10 percent of the world's known species. Yet, around 17% of the Amazon forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle farms. The second biggest rainforest region is found in the Indonesian archipelago and Papua New Guinea, where it is mostly palm oil plantations that are the cause of deforestation. Thousands of species disappear every single year because of the rainforest destruction. Replanting trees may be good to absorb more CO2, but it won't bring back to life extinct species.

Like all economic activities, things do not just happen magically. Money has to come from somewhere and that is where banks play their role. Many big banks have no scruples financing ecocide, so far in all impunity. It's time it changed and the best way for change to occur is if customers take matters in their own hands and boycott the bad players who lack an ecological conscience.

Banks are actively fund climate change by supporting new projects of coal, oil and gas extraction around the world. Often this has direct ecological consequences too, like the extraction of petrol in the heart of the Amazon.

Almost all major Chinese and Brazilian banks are involved in rainforest destruction and the extraction of fossil fuels and are not listed here so as not to clog the page. The ratings below are for developed economies only (Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan). If your bank is not in the two lists below, then in all likelihood it is not involved in the finance of climate change or deforestation, or at least not in a significant scale. Anybody concerned about global warming, the burning of the Amazon forest, the destruction of various tropical rainforest and the associated loss of biodiversity should ideally not invest their money, get loans, register a credit card, or generally do business with any of the banks mentioned below. Otherwise you become complicit. There are plenty of alternatives.

Banks & investers financing the destruction of the world's rainforests

The following ranking takes into account three indices.

Stand.Earth's report Banking on Amazon Destruction (2021) : How European and U.S. banks fund the oil and gas industry despite environmental and social risks driving the Amazon over the brink.

The Forest 500 ratings (2020) for financial institutions assessed for their impact on global tropical deforestation. The rating takes into account the companies' involvement in or potential exposure to forest risk commodity supply chains and their influence within the political economy of tropical deforestation.

Global Witness's report on Financiers of Rainforest Destruction (2019), which provides the total amount of money provided as credits (loans and underwriting) or investments to six of the major agribusinesses most implicated in destruction of climate-critical rainforests in either Papua New Guinea, the Congo Basin, or the Brazilian Amazon. Three of those six agribusinesses are JBS S.A., Marfrig Global, and Minerva Foods, all based in Brazil, and who account for more than 45% of the region’s cattle farming linked to the Amazon deforestation. Bank of America, Barclays, BlackRock, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Golman Sachs, ING, Morgan Stanley have all been implicated in financing the activities of one of these companies, while HSBC and Santander financed two of them, and JP Morgan Chase all three. Deforestation in the Congo Basin is being led by two rubber producers, the Chinese conglomerate Sinochem and the Singapore-based Halcyon Agri. The financers behind their expansion include especially the Dutch bank ABN Amro and Singapore's DBS Bank, but also Credit Suisse, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank. The rainforest of Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea are threatened by palm oil plantations and logging. The bad actors in this region are notably HSBC, Citigroup, Standard Chartered and Rabobank.

In its investigation Deforestation Dividends (2021), Global Witness found that financial giants have made deals worth $157 billion with firms accused of destroying tropical forest in Brazil, Southeast Asia and Africa since the Paris Climate Agreement. Corporations who have repeatedly profited from these deals include JPMorgan ($9.38 billion), HSBC ($6.85 billion), BNP Paribas ($5.71 billion), Bank of China ($4.67 billion), Deutsche Bank ($4.5 billion), and Rabobank ($3.63 billion).

Note that life insurance companies and financial services providers were also included whenever they had investments that ravaged tropical rainforests.

Meaning of the Overall Rainforest Score
The Greenest
No investment linked to rainforest destruction
The Nearly Green
Hardly any investment linked to rainforest destruction
The Average
Minor investments linked to rainforest destruction
The Not-So-Good
Substantial investments linked to rainforest destruction
The Bad
Financiers of rainforest destruction
The Worse
Major financiers of rainforest destruction
The Ugly
Biggest financiers of rainforest destruction

We urge you to stay away from the companies listed below.

Company Country Stand.Earth Forest 500 Global Witness
(millions USD provided)
Overall Rainforest Score
HSBC United Kingdom 12.5 55 3740 -41.05
BPCE/Natixis France 17 2 1162 -13.74
JP Morgan Chase USA 12 41 1908 -11.66
Capital Group USA 806 -8.06
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) United Kingdom 540 -5.4
National Australia Bank (NAB) Australia 7 807 -1.07
BlackRock USA 4 236 -0.72
Mizuho Japan 22 1054 0.92
Bank of New York Mellon USA 4 7 4
GIC Singapore 5 5
Legal & General United Kingdom 5 5 5
Credit Suisse Switzerland 18 57 1600 5.5
Liberty Mutual Insurance USA 6 6
Scotiabank Canada 10 50 9
Santander Spain 38 1442 9.16
Wells Fargo USA 14 67 12.66
Manulife Financial Canada 14 1 14
Intesa San Paolo Italy 18 118 15.64
DBS Singapore 57 1975 17.5
UniCredit Italy 24 267 18.66
Nomura Japan 30 534 19.32
Standard Life Aberdeen United Kingdom 20 13 20
US Bancorp USA 20 20
Crédit Agricole France 16.5 29 137 20.01
Northern Trust USA 21 4.5 21
ANZ Australia 44 1134 21.32
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Japan 32 476 22.48
Goldman Sachs USA 14 34 5 24
Commerzbank Germany 44 975 24.5
Bank of America USA 36 551 24.98
TIAA USA 25 3.5 25
Morgan Stanley USA 45 972 25.56
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Canada 26 0.1 26
BNP Paribas France 23 63 833 26.34
Bank of Montreal (BMO) Canada 27 5.5 27
Allianz Germany 28 2.5 28
Landesbank Baden-Württemberg Germany 28 28
Citi USA 15.5 44 29.75
ING Group Netherlands 27 59 642 30.16
United Overseas Bank Singapore 31 9 31
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) Canada 32 32
BBVA Spain 47 713 32.74
UBS Switzerland 18.5 47 6.5 32.75
Société Générale France 18.5 48 33.25
Nordea Sweden 34 6 34
Rabobank Netherlands 28.5 72 768 34.89
JBIC Japan 35 35
Deutsche Bank Germany 13 66 212 35.26
Commonwealth Bank Australia 42 641 35.59
Lloyds Bank United Kingdom 36 36
Westpac Australia 51 721 36.58
Standard Chartered United Kingdom 64 1346 37.08
MUFG Japan 51 640 38.2
ABN Amro Netherlands 28 65 397 38.56
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Japan 39 0.2 39
Barclays United Kingdom 52 614 39.72
Norges Bank Norway 48 48
NatWest United Kingdom 53 53
Aegon Netherlands 54 4 54

Banks causing climate change by financing fossil fuels

This ranking is based on the Rainforest Action Network's Fossil Fuel Financing Report (2021). The first column shows each bank's score for their fossil fuel policy. The maximum score (best) is 200. The second column represents the scale of investment in fossil fuels in billions of dollars funded in the five years from 2016 to 2020. The overall score is calculated by withdrawing 1/5 of the billions invested from the policy score, so that major financiers of fossil fuels get more heavily penalised.

Bank Country Fossil Fuel Policy Amount invested
(in billions USD)
Overall Climate Score
JP Morgan Chase USA 17.5 316 -54.45
Wells Fargo USA 18.5 223 -35.35
Citi USA 33.5 237 -30.65
Bank of America USA 22 198 -28.6
MUFG Japan 6 147 -26.4
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Canada 17.5 160 -23.25
Mizuho Japan 5 123 -22.1
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) Canada 5 121 -21.7
Scotiabank Canada 2.5 114 -21.55
Bank of Montreal (BMO) Canada 11.5 97 -13.65
Barclays United Kingdom 32 145 -13
Morgan Stanley USA 20 110 -12
HSBC United Kingdom 20.5 110 -11.75
CIBC Canada 3.5 66 -11.45
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Japan 6.5 69 -10.55
Goldman Sachs USA 20.5 100 -9.75
Credit Suisse Switzerland 20 82 -6.4
Deutsche Bank Germany 30 74 0.2
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Japan 3.5 0.6 1.63
Nordea Sweden 12.5 9.5 4.35
Westpac Australia 13.5 6.5 5.45
National Australia Bank (NAB) Australia 14 4.4 6.12
Intesa San Paolo Italy 18.5 13 6.65
Danske Bank Denmark 16 5.8 6.84
DZ Bank Germany 14.5 1.5 6.95
UBS Switzerland 28.5 36 7.05
Commerzbank Germany 19 12 7.1
Commonwealth Bank Australia 18 6.2 7.76
ANZ Australia 22.5 15 8.25
Standard Chartered United Kingdom 35.5 31 11.55
Lloyds Bank United Kingdom 28 12 11.6
Rabobank Netherlands 28 8 12.4
ING Group Netherlands 51 44 16.7
BBVA Spain 43 22 17.1
Santander Spain 50.5 34 18.45
NatWest United Kingdom 43 13 18.9
BNP Paribas France 92.5 121 22.05
Société Générale France 74 73 22.4
Crédit Agricole France 74 64 24.2
BPCE/Natixis France 74.5 37 29.85
UniCredit Italy 93.5 31 40.55
Crédit Mutuel-CIC France 90 0.3 44.94



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