Brief an Verwaltungsratspräsident CS: Credit Suisse gegen Umwelt- und Sozialstandards bei der Weltbank

Mr. Walter B. Kielholz
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse Group
Paradeplatz 8
Postfach 1
8070 Zürich

Zürich, April 04, 2004

Re: Equator Bank opposition to World Bank Extractive Industry Review

Dear Mr. Kielholz,
We have become aware that the banks who are signatories to the Equator Principles, among them Credit Suisse Group, have prepared a letter to World Bank President James Wolfensohn heavily criticising the findings of the recent Extractive Industries Review (EIR).

The EIR found that the World Bank's policies in the oil, mining and gas sectors are currently seriously deficient. Few, if any, projects succeed in meeting the Bank's stated poverty alleviation objectives and most exacerbate the so-called «resource curse» - the tendency of states reliant on oil revenues to become more corrupt, more impoverished and less democratic. The review recommends that the Bank should not fund future projects in the sector unless a number of preconditions - including good governance and the free, prior informed consent of affected communities - have been met.

The findings of the EIR have been warmly welcomed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu alongside 4 other Nobel Prize winners and more than 300 organisations representing the environment, human rights and international development. Furthermore a broad-based coalition of U.S. and Canadian social investors with almost $29 billion in assets under management have joined together to ask the World Bank President James Wolfensohn to implement the recommendations of the Extractive Industries Review.

We are therefore shocked and angered that as a signatory to the Equator Principles, which are themselves based on the social and environmental principles of the World Bank; you seek to undermine the recommendations of the EIR. We are currently sceptical of some of the Equator banks commitment to implementing the Principles because the lack of transparency in how they are being applied and the funding of several controversial projects since they were launched. It seems some of our fears are being realised as we now see that the same banks are seeking behind closed doors to weaken rather than strengthen the World Banks policies in relation to managing the social and environmental impacts of those projects they finance.

Together with the BankTrack Network and NGOs all over the world Berne Declaration strongly urges you to withdraw the signature of Credit Suisse on that letter seeking to undermine the recommendations of the EIR. Instead we urge you to publicly support the recommendations in the Review.

Yours sincerely
Andreas Missbach
Berne Declaration
Private Finance Program