We are calling on clients of Standard Bank to move their accounts to another bank – because Standard Bank is still funding and supporting fossil fuel companies, making it complicit in human rights violations and climate collapse.
Standard Bank is part of Standard Bank Group (SBG), Africa’s biggest lender, operating in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The lending decisions it makes therefore have a big impact and influence the decisions other banks make.
In this time of catastrophic climate change threatening lives and livelihoods, worsening inhumane and unsustainable levels of inequality and destroying our earth’s life support systems, banks have the power to either invest in a livable future or in a future that is not compatible with human life.
No bank is perfect and all banks are taking steps to transition away from life-harming fossil fuels to sustainable energy; however, some banks are much further down the road than others. Standard Bank is quantifiably lagging behind and we, as their banking customers, are tired of our monies – no matter how modest or large – being used to fund humanity’s destruction. It is time to #BoycottStandardBank
- SBG is still increasing its investments in fossil fuels – in 2022 its investment was R119.4 billion (bn), compared to R97.6 bn for the previous year.
- Although SBG is increasing its investment in renewables (by 84%), it should be noted that in comparison, its investments in fossil fuels are 4.5 times higher (R26.3 bn compared to R119.4 bn)
- SBG’s Climate Policy is weak and lacks ambition, adopting targets not aligned with climate science. In particular SBG has a very weak coal investment policy. Coal is the most polluting of all fossil fuels, with the highest carbon emissions and is also the most harmful to human health and ecosystem well being.
- SBG says Africa needs fossil fuels to address energy poverty and developmental needs ignoring multiple studies and globally respected institutions that show that decentralised renewable energy represents the fastest, most cost- effective option for addressing energy poverty across the African continent, to “unlock sustainable economic growth, improve human health and well-being and enable women and children to lead more productive lives”.
- SBG is involved in two controversial oil extraction projects – the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Tanzania and Uganda, and CABO DELGADO in Mozambique – that have caused human rights abuses, threaten vital ecosystems and local economies and add to the climate crisis.
Extinction Rebellion has been protesting in various forms over the past 3 years with no response from Standard Bank. They are not alone. StopEACOP and 350.org Africa have also been calling for Standard Bank to withdraw its involvement from EACOP.
In September 2023 Extinction Rebellion Gauteng occupied the Standard Bank HQ “The demands were clear: they sought a live debate with Standard Bank’s leaders, Kenny Fihla and Sim Tshabalala, and implored the bank to commit to ending its financing of new coal projects by 2024, using those funds to support renewable electricity access for the poor communities they claim to serve.” Read more here.
Standard Bank did not engage with them regarding their demands, instead used heavy-handed security to remove them, manhandling a journalist in the process. Instead of using this moment to self-reflect and reorientate Standard Bank towards leading the finance charge for a liveable future, CEO Sim Tshabala has doubled down on his stance that Africa needs fossil fuels for poverty relief, energy security and development. Read here and here.
Still unsure, read this joint press release by those of us who are already committed to #boycottStandardBank – Extinction Rebellion South Africa, United Front, The South African Youth Climate Change Coalition, and Fossil Free South Africa
join our growing movement
- Sign on as an organisation or individual here.
- Write an open letter to Sim Tshabalala, CEO of Standard Bank – tell him why you are leaving. Or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Share it on social media using #BoycottStandardBank
- Tell your followers why you are leaving Standard Bank – invite them to follow your lead.
- Share your decision with people, organisations and movements working for justice – invite them to join the movement.
We know leaving a bank is an arduous process. You are welcome to reach out to our team and we will advise you based on our experience in bank switching.