BL-still-banking-header

Still Banking on Land Grabs

Australia’s Big 4 Banks — the ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac — are still failing on human rights. They’re backing companies that are kicking people off their land, destroying lives and leaving people homeless and hungry.

Don’t want your savings bankrolling unethical companies?

Sign the petition and tell the Big 4 to stop banking on land grabs!

Act now

This Aruh tree was protected as a symbol of the Ngalam clan’s history and presence in the Seluma region of Indonesia until it was felled by workers from a local palm oil company. Community members have been intimidated to leave their land, reporting violence and destruction of trees and crops. CBA, NAB and Westpac all back Wilmar – who sources palm oil from the company involved.

SHARE

Still Banking on Land Grabs

Our new report reveals that the savings of ordinary Australians could still be used by the Big 4 Banks to back companies connected to land grabs in Cambodia, Brazil, Indonesia and further afield. Download the report now and read more!

Are your savings leaving people homeless?

Cambodia

After losing their homes and farming land to Phnom Penh Sugar, some villagers from Pis village in Kampong Speu, Cambodia now work on the nearby plantation and are paid less than USD $3 a day.

Hundreds of families were evicted to make way for the plantation. In 2011-2014 ANZ part-financed the PPS sugar plantation complex by providing a loan for a sugar mill built on, and sourcing from, the disputed land. The local community is calling for ANZ to return its profits from the deal to communities who now face food shortages, increased debt and loss of livelihoods as a result of losing their land.

Mr Vaen Mak’s family (pictured) lost 3.5 hectares of land when they were evicted and moved to a small plot (40x50m) which was full of rocks and difficult to farm, to make way for Phnom Penh Sugar’s plantation.

A household assessment by two local NGOs estimate the total community losses for the families impacted by the Phnom Penh Sugar plantation to be about AUD $15 million dollars.

Bank response:

ANZ July 2014, after several months of negative publicity about the deal, the bank announced that Phnom Penh Sugar had suddenly repaid its loan.

ANZ has claimed to respond to the case – but communities state that this has not resulted in any meaningful change on the ground. They point to several signposts that should have led ANZ to take heightened due diligence before issuing the loan.

Brazil

Angela Martins is part of the Guarani-Kaiowá Indigenous group who are recognised as the rightful occupants of the Jatayvary land in Ponta Porã ,Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. Large-scale farmers cashing in on Brazil’s sugar and soy boom have resisted the process of land return to Angela’s community. Angela’s son, Robson Duarte, 22, adds: “If we had our land, we would be more comfortable, relaxed, without threats, we would be secure and safe … Many of us don’t have jobs. We live off hunting, trap animals, that’s how we live. The farmers threaten us with violence.”

A mill partly, and then fully, owned by agribusiness company Bunge from 2008-2014 exacerbated the land conflict by sourcing sugarcane from five farms on Jatayvary land. Banking on Shaky Ground revealed that CBA managed $14 million in shares in Bunge. This report reveals that, not only CBA, but all of Australia’s big four banks have backed the company. These are links that Westpac, NAB and ANZ have not previously reported on. Angela and Robson’s community still cannot return to their land, their local waters are polluted and they experience food shortages.

Bank response:

ANZ has not publicly reported on their connection to Bunge.

Brazil

Angela Martins is part of the Guarani-Kaiowá Indigenous group who are recognised as the rightful occupants of the Jatayvary land in Ponta Porã ,Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. Large-scale farmers cashing in on Brazil’s sugar and soy boom have resisted the process of land return to Angela’s community. Angela’s son, Robson Duarte, 22, adds: “If we had our land, we would be more comfortable, relaxed, without threats, we would be secure and safe … Many of us don’t have jobs. We live off hunting, trap animals, that’s how we live. The farmers threaten us with violence.”

A mill partly, and then fully, owned by agribusiness company Bunge from 2008-2014 exacerbated the land conflict by sourcing sugarcane from five farms on Jatayvary land. Banking on Shaky Ground revealed that CBA managed $14 million in shares in Bunge. This report reveals that, not only CBA, but all of Australia’s big four banks have backed the company. These are links that Westpac, NAB and ANZ have not previously reported on. Angela and Robson’s community still cannot return to their land, their local waters are polluted and they experience food shortages.

Bank response:

In 2014 Oxfam disclosed that CBA was managing millions of dollars in shareholdings with Bunge. Since then CBA states that it has spoken to the company about the issue and is satisfied with its response. However CBA has never consulted with affected communities and Oxfam is calling for Bunge, and its investors, to support redress for its role in exacerbating the local land conflict from 2008-2014.

Indonesia

In 2011, palm oil company PT SIL acquired a contested land lease to 2,812 hectares in Seluma province, Indonesia. Since then it’s been exerting pressure on local people to leave their land in order to develop its plantation. Community members report the destruction of local palm oil, rubber and vegetable plots and threats of violence.

PT SIL is a supplier to global palm oil company Wilmar – which has financing links to National Australia Bank, CBA and Westpac.

Bank response:

CBA have not reported their connection to the company in their annual reporting – despite well-publicised allegations of the company’s connection to land deals that do not have the free, prior and informed consent of local communities and which frequently involve violence and threats

Indonesia

In 2011, palm oil company PT SIL acquired a contested land lease to 2,812 hectares in Seluma province, Indonesia. Since then it’s been exerting pressure on local people to leave their land in order to develop its plantation. Community members report the destruction of local palm oil, rubber and vegetable plots and threats of violence.

PT SIL is a supplier to global palm oil company Wilmar – which has financing links to National Australia Bank, CBA and Westpac.

Bank response:

NAB has reported on its connections to Wilmar. It was also the first of the big four banks to issue a land-specific policy which it has raised with the company.

Brazil

Angela Martins is part of the Guarani-Kaiowá Indigenous group who are recognised as the rightful occupants of the Jatayvary land in Ponta Porã ,Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. Large-scale farmers cashing in on Brazil’s sugar and soy boom have resisted the process of land return to Angela’s community. Angela’s son, Robson Duarte, 22, adds: “If we had our land, we would be more comfortable, relaxed, without threats, we would be secure and safe … Many of us don’t have jobs. We live off hunting, trap animals, that’s how we live. The farmers threaten us with violence.”

A mill partly, and then fully, owned by agribusiness company Bunge from 2008-2014 exacerbated the land conflict by sourcing sugarcane from five farms on Jatayvary land. Banking on Shaky Ground revealed that CBA managed $14 million in shares in Bunge. This report reveals that, not only CBA, but all of Australia’s big four banks have backed the company. These are links that Westpac, NAB and ANZ have not previously reported on. Angela and Robson’s community still cannot return to their land, their local waters are polluted and they experience food shortages.

Bank response:

NAB have not publicly reported on their connection to Bunge.

Indonesia

In 2011, palm oil company PT SIL acquired a contested land lease to 2,812 hectares in Seluma province, Indonesia. Since then it’s been exerting pressure on local people to leave their land in order to develop its plantation. Community members report the destruction of local palm oil, rubber and vegetable plots and threats of violence.

PT SIL is a supplier to global palm oil company Wilmar – which has financing links to National Australia Bank, CBA and Westpac.

Bank response:

Westpac have not reported their connection to the company in their annual reporting – despite well-publicised allegations of the company’s connection to land deals that do not have the free, prior and informed consent of local communities and which frequently involve violence and threats

Brazil

Angela Martins is part of the Guarani-Kaiowá Indigenous group who are recognised as the rightful occupants of the Jatayvary land in Ponta Porã ,Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. Large-scale farmers cashing in on Brazil’s sugar and soy boom have resisted the process of land return to Angela’s community. Angela’s son, Robson Duarte, 22, adds: “If we had our land, we would be more comfortable, relaxed, without threats, we would be secure and safe … Many of us don’t have jobs. We live off hunting, trap animals, that’s how we live. The farmers threaten us with violence.”

A mill partly, and then fully, owned by agribusiness company Bunge from 2008-2014 exacerbated the land conflict by sourcing sugarcane from five farms on Jatayvary land. Banking on Shaky Ground revealed that CBA managed $14 million in shares in Bunge. This report reveals that, not only CBA, but all of Australia’s big four banks have backed the company. These are links that Westpac, NAB and ANZ have not previously reported on. Angela and Robson’s community still cannot return to their land, their local waters are polluted and they experience food shortages.

Bank response:

Westpac have not publicly reported on their connection to Bunge.