International Divestment – Nordic Banks Defunding DAPL

by Sara Löwgren

Two Nordic banks are divesting from companies which contribute to the continuous violations of indigenous rights at Standing Rock through their direct involvement in DAPL. The divestment is following a special UN report on indigenous rights and the cancellation of an Environmental Impact Statement after Trump’s inauguration, and strongly supported by Nordic Arctic indigenous Sami people.

Norwegian KLP is excluding Energy Transfer Partners, Phillips 66, Enbridge Inc., and Marathon Petroleum Corporation from all investment as of March 2017.  KLP had investments worth a total of $68.3 million in the four companies.

KLP is divesting from DAPL due to the “unacceptable risk of contribution to human rights violations” the bank stated in a press release on March 16.

Nordea, another Nordic bank, decided to divest from Energy Transfer Partners, Phillips 66, and Sunoco Logistics already on February 17. Nordea recognizes the injust construction of DAPL and gave the ignoring of Standing Rock representatives as their main reason for divesting.

“[The companies are] violating indigenous people´ rights as the company […] plan to begin construction of the pipeline ‘immediately’ without further consultation with the Standing Rock tribe representatives” Nordea spokesperson Ylva Hannestad stated.

Vibeke Larsen, the president of the Sami Parliament, eagerly advocated for the KLP divestment from DAPL. Larsen believes that although the Sami population is small, their voice is important for protecting indigenous peoples’ rights internationally.

“It is because we are so small that we have to have solidarity with the others” Larsen told the Guardian.

KLP’s decision to divest followed Trump’s executive order on January 24, the cancellation of the Environmental Impact Statement and the release of a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, on March 3.

Corpuz visited tribes, tribal governments, the federal government and several agencies including the Army Corps of Engineers.

Corpuz found that the consultation with the tribes had not been sufficient and was also concerned about the absence of an environmental impact statement (EIS). She stressed the importance of finding ways to use existing laws to protect indigenous land, while pointing out that the current laws are not enough and that local tribes need to be consulted adequately.

“Domestic laws cannot define sacredness or confine the idea to specific dots on a map.” the end of the UN Special Rapporteur’s mission statement read.

Considering the impacts of pipelines on Native American tribes, Corpuz expressed serious concern about the January 24 executive order, in which Donald Trump grants easement for the construction of DAPL to continue.

KLP announced its decision to divest at a meeting with the Sami parliament, but according to KLP’s acting head of investment Annie Bersagel, the divestment had been planned for months, before the discussion with the Sami parliament. Bergsagel still emphasized that KLP appreciates the communication with the Sami president and environmental groups in Norway, and that the conversations were helpful in making the decision.



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