Top of the month: Greenpeace campaign takes Banco Santander to task

Top marks go to environmental campaign group Greenpeace for bringing the parent group of Santander to the negotiating table with a hard-hitting campaign against rainforest destruction in Indonesia.

Credit: Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace
Credit: Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace

Greenpeace launched a YouTube campaign video, which left little to the imagination, depicting vast swathes of rainforest being destroyed by Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), for the sake of paper and packaging. The logging operation threatens the habitats of orang-utans and tigers, says Greenpeace.

The campaign organisation’s complaint? That Banco Santander had helped broker syndicated loans worth £400m for APRIL to continue and expand its logging operation in Indonesia. Within hours, the campaign video, supported by Greenpeace activists on social media, had garnered 1.2 million views and 10,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook, rising to three million views after two days.

Activists also staged demonstrations outside UK branches of Santander to collect signatures in opposition to the loan. And less than 48 hours after the campaign launch, Santander’s parent company issued a statement announcing a U-turn of its decision to lend money to APRIL. The bank said it had decided not to give loans to APRIL "at this stage" and that any future funding of the company would be conditional on the logging firm implementing "new sustainability measures".

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