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Morgan gets a green lesson
Environmentalists taking aim at J.P. Morgan Chase are recruiting schoolchildren to their cause. In November the bank withdrew from negotiations with the Rainforest Action Network to adopt minimum environmental standards for corporate loans.
Environmentalists taking aim at J.P. Morgan Chase are recruiting schoolchildren to their cause. In November the bank withdrew from negotiations with the Rainforest Action Network to adopt minimum environmental standards for corporate loans. Last month the activist group arranged for two dozen second graders from J.P. Morgan chairman Bill Harrison's hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut, to travel to New York City, accompanied by parents and teachers, to deliver hundreds of posters bearing pro-environment messages.
RAN criticizes Morgan for making "investments of mass destruction" in companies with poor environmental records in countries like Colombia and Indonesia. The banking giant, says Ilyse Hogue, RAN's global finance campaign director, has been reluctant to adopt financial industry "environmental best practices" already embraced by Bank of America and Citigroup.
RAN is applying pressure on several fronts to get J.P. Morgan to adopt, at minimum, standards drafted by the International Finance Corp., the U.N. Environment Programme and the World Bank requiring banks to account for and reduce the likely environmental impact of projects they fund. So far 28 financial institutions have signed on. "It's a significant indicator of the temperature of the financial community," says Hogue.
J.P. Morgan, which sent a delegation led by Amy Davidson, the bank's environmental affairs director, to meet with the children, disputes RAN's characterization of its environmentalism. "We are committed to the environment and are currently in the process of developing a formal and comprehensive policy," says spokesman Brian Marchiony.
RAN is protesting J.P. Morgan's investments in other ways. With the help of local activists, the organization has put up large posters in Chicago, New York and Washington bearing the slogan, "It's time for regime change -- on Wall Street."