Aaron Packard Aaron Packard, November 20, 2014

Thursday, November 20th

Today, 350 Pacific volunteers across the region, known as the ‘Pacific Climate Warriors’, are delivering letters to ANZ management asking them to divest from the fossil fuel industry.

This is part of a new ‘divestment’ campaign being launched in the Pacific by the climate campaigning network, 350 Pacific.

“We launched this campaign to call on businesses operating in the Pacific to remove all forms of support from the industry – the fossil fuel industry – that will destroy us,” said campaign spokesperson, Ms. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, who recently addressed world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit in September.

Fijian Climate Warrior, George Nacewa, delivers a letter to ANZ management

Fijian Climate Warrior, George Nacewa, delivers a letter to ANZ management

The Climate Warriors are taking their message to ANZ that they must commit to ruling out future loans to fossil fuel projects, and phase out existing loans over a five year- period.

“Organizations and financial institutions, such as the ANZ, must align their money with their morals. They need to make socially responsible investments because, it is not acceptable to profit from the destruction of our Islands.”

“While the Pacific Islands may seem small, business for the banks here is profitable and growing. It is a moral imperative that as banks continue to grow in the region; they side with the people, not the polluters,” added Ms. Jetnil-Kijiner.

Over the past five years, ANZ has invested a total of $6.5 billion in fossil fuel projects, even when it is very clear that these fossil fuels are the greatest man- made contributor to climate change and the destruction of the Pacific.

Samoan Climate Warrior, Raedena Solomona, moments before delivering the letter to ANZ in Samoa.

Samoan Climate Warrior, Raedena Solomona, moments before delivering the letter to ANZ in Samoa.

“Although many of our friends and families work for ANZ. Our fight is not with them, but with management at ANZ who guide where investments are made.”

“With everything at stake in the face of climate change for our islands, we have to take every necessary step to protect our island homes,” continued Jetnil- Kijiner.

“The Divestment campaign has its place in the Pacific. What we are calling for, are institutions and organizations to move their investments from the fossil fuel industry to more renewable and cleaner sources of energy,” she concluded.

Tongan Climate Warrior, Taufu'i Naufahu, delivers the letter to ANZ management in Tonga.

Tongan Climate Warrior, Taufu’i Naufahu, delivers the letter to ANZ management in Tonga.

Earlier this year, the Anglican Church of New Zealand and Polynesia became the first in the worldwide Anglican Communion, to pledge to divest from fossil fuel companies, while the College of the Marshall Islands are trying to get their campus to divest their endowment from fossil fuels. If they succeed, they could be the first College in the Pacific Region to divest.

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Notes for Editors

1.     For further information about ANZs investment in the fossil fuel industry, visit www.marketforces.org.au/banks.

2.     For Immediate Release. Contact:  Fenton Lutunatabua, Phone: +679 9247 235, Email: [email protected]

3.     This Divestment Campaign is the next phase of the 350 Pacific Stand Up for the Pacific Campaign, which first saw 30 Pacific Climate Warriors take their message directly to the fossil fuel industry, and blockade the world’s largest coal port, on the 17th of October, 2014.

4.     You can read a blog on Divestment, written by Ms. Jetnil- Kijiner, here.

5.     Kathy Jetnil- Kijiner speaking at the summit.

6.     Last month close to 100 Melbourne residents occupied ANZ’s global headquarters in Melbourne to stand in solidarity with Pacific Islanders whose homes and cultures are being destroyed by fossil fuel expansion.

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