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Friends of the Earth France are together with Action Aid France and CRID for the seventh year organizing the “Sustainable Development Pinocchio Awards” and has nominated the company “Crédit Agricole” as one of the three companies in the category ”One for all, all for me!” – a category that is awarded to the company that has the most aggressive policy in terms of land grabbing, exploitation or destruction of natural resources. Crédit Agricole has been nominated for its financing of the destruction of the Appalachians Mountains.
Mountaintop removal mining (MTR) is a coal mining practice that involves using large amounts of explosive to blow up entire tops of mountains. Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources are big coal companies that use MTR in the Appalachians Mountains. The companies do very aggressive coal mining with great consequences for the environment and the people living there, as it pollutes the air and the water.
Paul Corbit Brown, from the Keeper of the Mountain Foundation, comments on the situation in the Appalachian mountains: “There is going to be one of the best cancer hospitals in the world, being built right now, in Charlestown, West Virginia, just minutes from our state capital. How ironic it is that –we think that it is so great that we have this new medic facility that is the best in the world – but why do we have this? We have this medic facility because we need them because we are so sick and we need them because we are sick because of these industries - I do not know any family here that is not affected in some way or some type of cancer, its everywhere around us”
Crédit Agricole endorses itself as a green bank with a green agenda. On their webpage they promote themselves with the slogan “Sustainable Development at the heart of Credit Agricole”. Lucie Pinson, from Friends of the Earth France, motivates the banks nomination for the Pinocchio Award: “Crédit Agricole finances the companies who do MTR in the Appalachians”. She continues: “beyond coal mining and MTR mining, Crédit Agricole preserves itself as a very green bank that is fighting against climate change but they are actually helping to extract more coal and more deeply and more aggressively. MTR is really showing that Crédit Agricole is totally hypocritical about its responsibility and its place in fighting climate change”.
While other major European banks have taken strong steps away from MTR and coal mining – pointing to how it is not considered a good practice – Crédit Agricole continues to finance these activities. Lucie states that “in 2013 Crédit Agricole adopted its policy on mining and this policy states that Crédit Agricole is going to stop financing MTR projects but also to stop any support for MTR activities – meaning that it should have stopped financing Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal.”
Paul ends by saying that “I do not believe any corporation – Crédit Agricole not being any exception – has the right to profit on the expense of another human being´s life. For them to continue to play games with words – it´s just unconscionable – I cannot even believe that they believe that they would continue to have such callous disregard to human life. I believe it is going to catch up with them at some point".
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
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