Greenwashing the Amazon

June 2024

How Banks Are Destroying the Amazon Rainforest While Pretending to be Green

This report examines how the environmental and social risk management (ESRM) policies of the top banks financing oil and gas extraction in Amazonia fail to fully address the adverse impacts of their financing on people and nature. Over the past 20 years, just six banks – Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Itaú  Unibanco, Santander, Bank of America, and HSBC – are responsible for almost half (46%) of all direct financing for oil and gas operations in Amazonia. 

Most of these banks claim to uphold human rights and environmental protection, but, with the exception of HSBC, they continue to finance the operations of state-owned and private oil and gas companies in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. And yet, banks make claims on their websites, reports, and promotional materials that give the impression that they are finding success in protecting the environment and safeguarding human rights through their due diligence processes. This analysis indicates that banks are greenwashing their contribution to adverse impacts in Amazonia. While their stated commitments to addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, and the exploitation of Indigenous Peoples create the perception that they are protecting people and nature, the banks continue to finance destructive operations.

This report was endorsed by Action Aid, BankTrack, RAN, and 24 other organizations. See the full list on p.24 of the report. 

Capitalizing on Collapse

July 2023

How top fossil fuel banks financing Amazon oil and gas profit at the cost of forest and community health, Indigenous rights, and a climate-safe future.

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Capitalizing on Collapse, the report authored by award-winning researchers at Research Group, details how JPMorgan Chase, Itaú Unibanco, Citibank, HSBC, Banco Santander, Bank of America, Banco Bradesco, and Goldman Sachs provided over $11 billion USD in financing to Amazon oil and gas activities over the past 15 years, from 2009 – 2023. These banks are responsible for 55% of the estimated $20 billion USD total that can be traced directly to the region, while making up just 5% of the banks in the database.

Case studies included in Capitalizing on Collapse illustrate how each of these top banks has been involved in deals that expand oil and gas production in the Amazon. The report also casts light on the banks that finance companies involved in Amazon oil and gas where the money is harder to trace – known as indirect financing. The report explores how opaqueness in financial data and weakness in bank environmental and social risk (ESR) policies can create conditions for financing to flow to fossil fuel production, even as banks make explicit climate, human rights, and biodiversity commitments.