12 climate activists on trial for stunt at Swiss bank office

People demonstrate in support of the twelve activists

People demonstrate in support of the twelve activists of the “Lausanne Action Climat (LAC)” collective at the opening of the trial against them for storming a Credit Suisse office in Saint-Francois in November 2018 and playing tennis inside the office, in Renens, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. The posters read: “Ecocide everywhere, justice nowhere” and “If the climate were a bank, they would already have saved it”. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP) Credit: AP

GENEVA – (AP) — A dozen climate activists have gone on trial for storming a Credit Suisse office in Lausanne, Switzerland, and playing tennis inside, part of a protest against the bank’s investments in fossil fuels.

In a trial billed as the first of its kind in Switzerland, the environmentalists from the “Lausanne Action Climate” group entered the courtroom Tuesday in suburban Renens with a number of supporters on hand outside holding up placards and chanting.

The defendants are standing trial after refusing to pay fines handed down after the incursion at a Lausanne office of the Swiss bank in November 2018. Inside, wearing tennis dress, the activists whacked tennis balls – an allusion to Credit Suisse pitchman Roger Federer – and urged him to break his connection with the institution.

A verdict is expected Monday.

The group says Credit Suisse is one of the top banks worldwide to invest in fossil fuels, making available more than $7.8 billion to nearly four dozen companies that are “extreme” users of dirty fossil fuels and multiplying 16-fold its financing for coal from 2016 to 2017.

Credit Suisse said in a statement that it “is seeking to align its loan portfolios with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and has recently announced in the context of its global climate strategy that it will no longer invest in new coal-fired power plants.”

It added that while it respects freedom of expression, it does not tolerate unlawful attacks on its branches. SOURCE


Green investing in marine activities is ‘pretty exciting’: Credit Suisse

GP: Electric boat 190326

People navigate with the electric boat SunWave catamaran, on the Mediterranean sea during the Les Nauticales boat show, on March 26, 2019 in La Ciotat.  Boris Horvat | AFP | Getty Images

Green investing in marine-related activities such as sustainable fishing and ocean-based tourism is a “pretty exciting” opportunity, according to one Credit Suisse executive.

“It’s pretty exciting. If you calculate … the oceans in an economic term, it is the seventh-largest GDP in the world … It includes sustainable fisheries, it includes tourism that’s based on (the) ocean and it includes all of the other investments that go into seventh-largest. So, people aren’t really aware of that,” said Marisa Drew, CEO of the impact advisory and finance department at the investment bank.

Speaking to CNBC on Wednesday at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong, she added: “We’re seeing of course pollution issues, warming of the oceans … overfishing, and our clients and investors really deeply care about trying to resolve some of these issues. So they’re saying: ’How do I take this passion for the oceans and find an investible format?”

The World Bank defines that so-called “Blue Economy” as “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.” Some examples include sustainable fisheries, maritime transport and better waste management.

Another “great investment theme” would be green technology, into which “an enormous amount of investment” is going into, according to Drew.

She cited China’s ambitions to become the world’s leader in green technology as well as Beijing declaring that the country was going to “ban petrol cars in a very defined period of time” in its move towards electric vehicles.

“If you think about that, it’s a market segment that gets created from zero to hundreds of billions in just a couple of years,” Drew said. MORE