Divest from EACOP before it’s too late
and Abigail Kyomuhendo*
This week the annual shareholder meeting (AGM) of TotalEnergies took place. Whilst the shareholders celebrated their profits, Ugandan people were being evicted from their lands, thousands of kilometers away, for Total's East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
EACOP will transport crude oil from the Albertine region in northwest Uganda to Tanga, a port in Tanzania from where it will be exported around the world. The oil drilling and the pipeline threatens biodiversity, water supply and fishing resources for millions of people and displace thousands of households. It now already leads to human rights violations, especially targeted at activists speaking out against EACOP**.
EACOP has the dubious honour to become a replicate of the Niger Delta trauma. And that in an era when we all know we shouldn't be building any more pipelines and drill for new oil and gas sources. To keep the 1.5 degrees of the Paris Agreement within reach, we should keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Ugandan CSO's call for investments in clean energy instead
Says one citizen activist: "We want people in Europe and around the world to know about the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline. We want financial institutions and other big companies supporting Total to withdraw their support. We want to see this project stopped, as well as any other new oil projects in Africa and around the world."
Our Ugandan partners want to see an end to the funding of any new fossil-fuel projects, including EACOP, and an increased investment in clean and sustainable energy, particularly off grid solar energy. Because EACOP oil is for export, the project will not help the more than 90% of rural Ugandan people without electricity access. As such, Both ENDS supports their calls on government for putting in place policy frameworks, consumer protection laws, and investment that promotes expansion of off-grid solar energy.
Alarm bells are ringing: divest from TotalEnergies
Lately, good news has been coming in: earlier this year Dutch asset manager ACTIAM has set the standard: after a year long engagement failed to deliver adequate assurances from TotalEnergies on EACOP, they took the decision to exclude the oil and gas company from their investments. BankTrack on behalf of the coalition of #StopEACOP announced that this week seven more banks and insurers have confirmed they will not join the project loan to finance the EACOP. This takes the number of banks that want nothing to do with the EACOP project loan to 20 and the number of insurers to eight.
We think many other Dutch pension funds and asset managers need to influence TotalEnergies to stop EACOP or when they resist being influenced, do as ACTIAM has, and get out. The 11 mainly Dutch asset managers who tried to get a climate resolution on the agenda at this week's shareholder meeting but whose resolution was rejected to be tabled by TotalEnergies management should turn an even more critical eye towards TotalEnergies.
Both ENDS has sent information about EACOP to more than 15 Dutch pension funds and asked for meetings between these funds and our Ugandan partners so they can hear for themselves the perspective from the ground about how the oil and gas companies TotalEnergies and its Chinese counterpart CNOOC are operating. The first of these meetings occurred in April 2022 with Achmea, who manages the assets of 15 pension funds.
EACOP should be setting off alarm bells for investors committed to the Paris agreement. EACOP shows that TotalEnergies is not transitioning to becoming a renewable energy leader as some investors have hoped.
Call on investors: save Uganda from the disaster called EACOP
Banks, insurers, pension funds and export credit agencies need to cut off the money supply to develop EACOP.
At this moment, we can still save Uganda and its citizens from this disaster called EACOP. So let's join forces and help protect the lives, lands, and water supplies for thousands of Ugandans, as well as score one for the climate crisis.
*This is a pseudonym
EACOP will transport crude oil from the Albertine region in northwest Uganda to Tanga, a port in Tanzania from where it will be exported around the world. Nearly a third of EACOP will be constructed in the Lake Victoria basin, affecting Ramsar wetlands teeming with culturally-significant biodiversity. The lake also meets the water needs of up to 40 million people in East Africa.
The pipeline will cross 2,000sq. km of protected areas in Uganda and Tanzania, a third of which are habitats for chimpanzees and elephants. The oil to be transported by the pipeline will be extracted from Murchison Falls National Park, one of Uganda's largest, oldest and most visited parks, as well as Lake Albert, which contributes 43% of Uganda's fish resources.
Over 13,000 households are being re-located, more than 100,000 people affected. Human rights violations in the region are increasing, targeted mostly at activists protesting the pipeline and speaking out for the environment and the rights of the local communities. Women activists who speak out fare worse as when they are arrested, they face domestic and other pressures that take a psychological toll on them.
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Despite the existence of many hydropower dams, foreign investments and large government spending on energy, and new plans for hydropower, oil and gas projects, the vast majority of rural Uganda still remains without electricity. Together with our local partners we are striving towards a sustainable energy strategy for Uganda that starts from the needs and wishes of local communities.
Pension funds have a lot of influence because of their enormous assets. Both ENDS therefore wants pension funds such as the Dutch ABP to withdraw their investments from the fossil industry and to invest sustainably instead.
Event / 19 June 2022, 12:30
Still, more funds are spent on the fossil industry than on sustainable solutions. Banks, pension funds, insurers and governments keep investing in fossil infrastructure which endangers people and the environment. Therefore we call on financial institutions to stop funding the climate crisis.
Join our "Stop Fossil Finance" block at the next climate march!
Press release / 27 September 2022
Utrecht/Amsterdam, 27 September 2022 - On Wednesday 28 September, Dutch civil society organisations will organise a protest at the offices of oil giant TotalEnergies in The Hague, drawing attention to the problems surrounding the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Uganda. They are calling on investors to get out of TotalEnergies because of this project, which is causing human rights violations and serious environmental pollution. Two weeks ago the European Parliament passed a resolution against the human rights violations linked to EACOP.
Publication / 24 October 2019
Press release / 6 May 2020
The value of ABP's pension fund investments in fossil fuel companies has fallen by 44% from end of last year to its lowest point on March 16 this year, while the value of the rest of the portfolio decreased by 26%. This impact can be seen in simulations based on the publicly available equity portfolios of Dutch pension funds ABP and Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), carried out by research agency Profundo on behalf of Both ENDS. The simulations show that the risks of investing in the fossil fuel sector are increasing.
Press release / 24 October 2019
Press release 24 October 2019
Starting today, investors can use five criteria to test whether companies in the fossil sector are actively working on phasing out their fossil activities. Too many investors still seem hesitant to switch to a profitable future of sustainable energy and these criteria should help them do this. The organisations DivestInvest Network, Sustainable Energy (Denmark) and Both ENDS (the Netherlands) publish the report "Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses" today, which describes these five criteria. The criteria aim to help investors choose investments that are in line with the Paris goal "stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius warming." The recommendations are presented at the World Pension Summit deliberately, because pension fund investors in particular can take more responsibility in this.
News / 2 February 2020
The world has to stop using fossil fuels, but investment in the sector continues unabated. Investors of all kinds, including banks, insurance companies and pension funds, are hesitant about making the change to sustainable energy and are not sure where to start. In the autumn of 2019, together with the DivestInvest Network and Sustainable Energy (Denmark), Both ENDS published a report entitled ‘Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses’. The report describes five criteria to test whether companies in the fossil sector are actively taking steps to wind down their fossil activities. The criteria are helping investors to choose investments that are in line with the Paris goal of restricting global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. We spoke to Lars Jensen, Senior Analyst at Sustainable Energy and lead author of the report.
News / 9 February 2022
TotalEnergies and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Cooperation (CNOOC) are currently developing an oil extraction and transportation project in Uganda: East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The project – the construction of a heated pipeline (EACOP) of no less than 1445 kilometers through Uganda and Tanzania to export crude oil, is increasingly causing human rights violations and environmental damage. This is a matter of great concern to civil society organisations in Uganda and beyond. This week, Both ENDS, together with partner organisations in Uganda, sent an urgent letter to twelve pension funds and asset managers with investments in TotalEnergies and CNOOC.
News / 1 May 2019
Amsterdam 1 May 2019 - Dutch pension fund ABP's 'sustainable and responsible investment report’ today suggests that the pension fund is well on track in terms attaining its internal sustainability goals. However, an analysis by Fossielvrij NL, Both ENDS, urgewald and Greenpeace shows that ABP remains on a collision course with the Paris climate goals. At the end of 2018, ABP still invested 16.5 billion Euros in the fossil industry. ABP's investments in the world's 44 largest climate polluters even increased between 2016 and 2018.
Press release / 14 May 2017
The Dutch pension fund, ABP, invested about two billion euros more in the fossil energy industry at the end of 2016 than the year before. This is announced by the report "Dirty & Dangerous: the fossil fuel investments of Dutch pension fund ABP," published today by Both ENDS, German urgewald and Fossielvrij NL. The report criticizes these investments because of the impact on the climate and the catastrophic consequences for the people in the areas where coal, oil and gas are being produced.
Press release / 3 February 2020
Amsterdam, 3 February 2020 - A step forward, but oil and gas remain a blind spot in Dutch pension fund ABP's new investment policy published today. That's what environmental organisations Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace Netherlands and urgewald say in response to the new climate policy of the EU's largest pension fund, with assets over 442 billion euros. Although ABP is taking first steps to invest sustainably, more is needed to stop the climate crisis.
Press release / 9 May 2018
New research by Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL and urgewald shows that, in 2017, pension fund ABP invested 500 million euros more in coal, oil and gas than in the previous year – a total of 10.9 billion euros. These investments in fossil fuels not only stand in sharp contrast to ABP's claim that it has achieved substantial successes in its climate policy, but are also in flagrant violation of the Paris climate agreement. Unlike international forerunners among pension funds, ABP continues unabated to invest in the fossil energy sector.
Publication / 14 May 2017
Press release / 22 June 2020
Amsterdam, Copenhagen 22 June 2020 – In these times of increasing climate crisis, corporate social responsibility also means that investments in fossil gas must be phased out as quickly as possible. In a world in which a maximum temperature rise of 1.5 Celsius is the norm, fossil gas cannot be a 'transition fuel' towards sustainable energy. This is the message from five European environmental organisations (Both ENDS, the Danish AnsvarligFremtid, Fossil Free Sweden, Fossil Free Berlin and the Italian Re:Common) to pension funds in their countries that still invest in fossil gas companies. They are promoting that message with a new campaign called "Gas Free Pensions", which is being launched today.
Press release / 23 September 2019
Amsterdam, 23 September 2019 - The world's 5th largest pension fund, with assets of over €430 billion, Dutch ABP is continuing to invest in companies that are on a collision course with the Paris climate goals, such as coal and oil companies.
Publication / 9 May 2018
Publication / 9 May 2018
Publication / 14 May 2017
News / 2 July 2012
Last week the Agricultural Investment Summit took place in London, seeking to promote land as an emerging and expanding investment opportunity. Civil society organisations are concerned that this could lead to further land grabbing, threatening the livelihoods and food security of countless local communities in the global South. In a joint civil society statement Both ENDS urges pension funds and other financial institutions to stop such damaging investment practices.