ZURICH: Climate activists briefly blocked the entrances to the UBS and Credit Suisse headquarters in Zurich on Monday in protest against fossil fuel funding by Switzerland’s two biggest banks.
Environmentalist organisations including Extinction Rebellion and Climate Strike staged the demonstration in which groups of around 30 to 40 people sat in front of the entrances. Environmental activists have set up a week-long climate camp in Switzerland’s biggest city.
“The oceans are rising and so are we,” chanted the activists gathered under the banner Rise Up for Change. At the UBS headquarters, activists also blocked access with bicycles. Environmental organisations are calling for an immediate end to new investments and loans in fossil fuels.
They are targeting banks in particular, but also insurance companies, pension funds and asset managers as well as the Swiss central bank, which has a large portfolio of investments.
“We are here because Switzerland has a huge responsibility for carbon dioxide emissions,” said Alba, a 19-year-old student from Zurich opposed to the sums invested “in projects that are harmful to the environment”.
Police removed the protesters more than two hours after the demonstration began in the morning.
A UBS spokeswoman said the bank is “committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across our business to net zero by 2050, with science-based interim targets for 2025, 2030 and 2035.” Credit Suisse said it was working to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations and helping clients to transition to low-carbon business models. “Credit Suisse is committed to climate protection,” the bank said.
Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2021