Five banks accused of ‘greenwashing’ their activities in Amazon rainforest

Five of the world’s largest banks have been accused of “greenwashing” their role in the future of the Amazon rainforest.

A new report by watchdog organisation said that around 70 per cent of the Amazon is not effectively protected through the environmental and social risk management frameworks of the five top financiers of Amazon oil and gas, which it says are Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Itaú Unibanco, Santander, and Bank of America.

It said that around 72 per cent of transactions are structured in ways that minimise the identification of environmental and social values in banks’ risk management frameworks.

As a result, the report suggests that due diligence processes may not accurately identify risks to people and nature, substantially limiting the application of mechanisms like exclusions and screens, which are designed to help banks make financing decisions on transactions and clients based on the possibility of adverse impacts.

According to the research, North American banks Citibank and JPMorgan Chase are the top financiers of oil and gas in the Amazon. The report found that both banks have channelled $2.32 billion and $2.25 billion respectively to direct financing of the oil and gas sector in the region over the past 20 years.

Commenting on the news, a spokesperson for Santander said: “We understand fully the importance of protecting the Amazon and supporting sustainable development in the region. All financing decision are guided by a strict policy framework approved by our Board of Directors, and our activities align with all environmental regulations in the region. We are also actively involved in several industry initiatives to protect the region and work proactively with clients, as well as other banks, governments, regulators and other institutions to help improve practices, recognising this is a highly complex challenge that requires a multifaceted, multi-lateral response.”

FStech has reached out to Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Itaú Unibanco, and Bank of America for comment.

The report claims that HSBC, which was also identified as another major financer of Amazon oil and gas, is the only bank in the analysis that has presented a “positive example of policy”.

In December 2022, the British bank made a commitment to exclude oil and gas financing from the Amazon. The report said as a result of the policy, no new transactions are recorded for HSBC in Stand’s Amazon Banks Database in 2023.

“Through their deceptive policies and empty promises, these banks are attempting to greenwash oil and gas extraction in the Amazon, and obscure the destructive impacts of their ecosystem-devastating investments,” said Todd Paglia, executive director of “They claim to care about climate change, biodiversity, and Indigenous Peoples, but these commitments mean nothing until banks stop pouring fuel on the fire by funnelling billions into brutal oil and gas expansion in the region.”

Last month new research found that fossil fuel financing across 60 of the world’s largest banks has reached $6.9 billion since the Paris Agreement was signed eight years ago. Rainforest Action Network revealed that in 2023, banks invested $347 billion on fossil fuel expansion. This brings the total amount spent on expanding fossil fuel projects since 2016 to $3.3 trillion.

JP Morgan was shown to be the top financier for fossil fuels between 2016 and 2023 at $430.9 billion, with Citigroup in second place at $396.3 billion, and Bank of America in third after spending $333.

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