Several European lenders have vowed to cut financing immediately for crude oil trade transactions in Ecuadorian parts of the Amazon rainforest, environmental campaigners have revealed.

Campaign groups and Amazon Watch say in a new report that BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse and ING have confirmed in writing that no new transactions will be accepted that involve the sale of such oil.

The trio were previously responsible for financing sales of Amazon oil to buyers in the US worth a total of US$5.5bn since 2009, equivalent to more than 50% of all financing provided for such trade, the report says.

The announcement follows an investigation last year into 19 lenders, which found that BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, ING, Rabobank, UBS and Natixis together had facilitated 85% of all bank-financed trade linked to Amazon oil “despite having policies on advancing human rights, sustainability, and climate change”.

Credit Suisse told in late December it had reviewed its exposure to oil trading linked to the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon and would “phase out trade finance services for the export of such crude oil”.

BNP Paribas said the same month it would stop seaborne oil exports from Esmeraldas in northern Ecuador, while ING vowed to decline “any new proposed transactions” linked to oil and gas in the country.

According to Reuters, Rabobank also ceased financing Ecuadorian crude cargoes last year, while UBS told the campaign group it “already had declined some crude oil transactions from the region” – though has not yet made “firm commitments” to ceasing such activity entirely.

Natixis is the only one of the six banks highlighted that continued to fund trade in Amazon oil after the publication of last year’s report.

“Natixis provided trade financing for 5.5 million barrels of Amazon oil from Ecuador from July to December 2020, more than double the volume it financed in the first half of the year,” says.

However, a spokesperson for Natixis says the bank has “declined to finance any new clients involved in oil exports from Ecuador since mid-2020 and has reduced the number of existing clients it works with in this area”.

GTR understands that the reported increase in volumes in the second half of 2020 was the result of a single customer drawing down larger amounts on an existing facility, rather than the bank entering into a new transaction.

Natixis is named as the lead bank on that facility, but it is also backed by two other lenders that are not among the six top funders identified by The facility is due for renewal this year, though no decision has yet been made on whether to continue it.


Environmental impact and Amazon Watch say that not only does Amazon crude trading help contribute to climate change, but that it also directly impacts indigenous populations.

A recent example given is a November 2020 oil spill in Ecuador that affected several indigenous communities, including some that live in voluntary isolation.

“The banks identified in our report faced serious allegations of double standards for making climate pledges while continuing to finance the trade of Amazon oil, and these new commitments are the first step toward making a significant and lasting impact on Amazon rainforest protection and respect for indigenous rights in the region,” says Moira Birss, climate and finance director at Amazon Watch. and Amazon Watch say they will publish a scorecard in Q2 this year assessing the performance of all financial institutions identified in its research.

Other banks to be reviewed include MUFG, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank, UniCredit, Crédit Agricole, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and HSBC.

“We call on all other banks to stop funding oil extraction and trading of Amazon crude, and instead invest in sustainable economic alternatives for our countries and communities,” adds Marlon Vargas, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Trade finance linked to companies operating in the Amazon rainforest has become a growing target for campaigners.

In December, campaign group Global Witness urged banks to cut ties with three meat trading companies operating in Brazil, following an investigation into their role in Amazon deforestation.

This month, a report from leading UK academics suggested that banks could encourage suppliers to introduce tougher sustainability standards by offering financial incentives – such as extended debt financing terms, lower pricing or longer tenors – to companies that meet those requirements.