Protestors demand end to SNB fossil fuel funding

August 9, 2021|Written by Jamie Woolley|Swiss National Bank

A large crowd of protestors gathered outside the Swiss National Bank (SNB) on Friday to demand an immediate end to the central bank’s support for fossil fuel companies and activities. After a morning of flashmob activities involving a symbolic “oil pipeline”, the afternoon saw around 1,500 climate activists gather to plead with the SNB to stop funding fossil fuels. The protests, which included live music, were broadcast live with commentary on YouTube.

“The big banks and other financial institutions are putting the lives of millions of people around the world at risk by contributing to the current climate crisis and fuelling another 4-6°C of global warming,” said Action Alliance spokesperson Emma Müller in a statement released prior to the event. “We are demanding something which should be common sense: that the SNB immediately stops investing in projects and companies that violate human rights and destroy ecosystems,” said Guillaume Durin, spokesperson for organisers ‘Rise Up for Change’.

The large SNB protest culminates a week of actions and protests targeting the Swiss banking sector for its funding of the fossil fuel projects and activities that cause climate change, including a Monday protest outside the Credit Suisse headquarters in which 70 activists were arrested.

Research shows that both the SNB’s portfolio and the Swiss banking system as a whole supports global heating of 4-6°C by the year 2100. The SNB investments in the USA and UK alone are the source of almost as much CO2 emissions as the whole of Switzerland – the equivalent of around 4.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person.

The Swiss climate protests are the latest in a series of protest actions targeting central banks, including the ECB, Bank of England and Bundesbank, for their continued support for fossil fuels in their financing operations, asset purchases and regulation. The lead organising group, “Rise Up for Change” is a coalition of groups and individuals in the Swiss climate justice movement, including Climate Strike Switzerland, Collective Climate Justice, Extinction Rebellion Switzerland, and Collectif Break.

This page was last updated August 9, 2021

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