Voting With Your Wallet


Mikael Homanen


7th edition (2019/2018)


Investment / Transparency

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People Can Make a Difference

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests were one of the longest protests in recent US history. They began in early 2016 in reaction to an approved oil pipeline project in the northern United States. The pipeline, more than 1,800 km long, begins in the Bakken shale oil fields in northwest North Dakota and continues through South Dakota and Iowa, ending in Illinois. It sparked controversy among environmental activists across the US and Native Americans, because the pipeline was intended to cross both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and ancient burial grounds.

Interestingly, it was not just the oil companies that experienced a major public backlash, but this time, the financiers suffered as well. In total, 17 major national and international banks were publicly identified as directly having financed the construction of the DAPL. These included major well-known banks such as Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, SunTrust, Mizuho Bank, Citibank, TD Bank and Bayern LB, among others. By February 2017, more than 700,000 people had signed one of six petitions addressed to the banks that financed the pipeline. Individuals who signed the petitions collectively reported having more than $2.3 billion invested in these banks through checking, mortgage, and credit card accounts. They threatened to divest their wealth and cut ties, if the banks continued financing DAPL.

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