Three of the six banks named as letter of credit (L/C) or other trade finance providers for major oil deals with the Amazon region have decided to stop financing traders dealing in crude oil from Ecuador.

Switzerland's Credit Suisse, Dutch lender ING and France's BNP Paribas have decided to bow to pressure from campaigners intent on protecting the Amazon rainforest that from oil plays that create environmental damage and contribute to climate change.

Indirect financing

The banks were not involved in directly financing the oil business in the Amazon but had

provided L/Cs to traders including US companies Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66 and Citgo to buy crude oil from the region.

The traders used L/Cs pre-financed by the banks to cover purchases for refineries according to a report published last August by Amazon Watch and Stand Earth.

Major players

The campaign groups analysed freight documentation oil tanker to track the finances.

The two biggest Swiss banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, are major players in the oil trade of the Amazon region, primarily, in Ecuador. UBS has made US$850 million available for the oil trade in Ecuador since 2009 and Credit Suisse as much as US$1.8 billion.

Amazon Watch and Stand Earth concluded that Credit Suisse, ING and BNP, together with UBS, Natixis and Rabobank provided 85 per cent of all bank trade financing for Amazon oil.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.