Fri, Aug 20, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Activists protest at Fubon Bank

‘EVIL’The bank is a shareholder in a planned petrochemical plant in Dacheng, in Changhua County, which activists say is threatening local fish farming and the endangered pink dolphin

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of environmental groups protest outside the Fubon Financial Holdings building in Taipei City yesterday, calling on the company to withdraw its investments in the Kuokuang Petrochemical plant in Changhua County.

PHOTO: CNA

Environmentalists yesterday staged a demonstration outside Taipei Fubon Bank’s headquarters in Taipei, calling it an evil-hearted company as it is one of the shareholders of Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co’s (KKPTC) planned petrochemical plant in Changhua County.

KKPTC’s plan to build refineries on coastal wetland in Changhua County’s Dacheng Township (大城) has sparked controversy, with many residents — especially oyster farmers — worried that a petrochemical plant would bring pollution and destroy the oyster farming industry.

Holding up placards that read “Fubon is evil,” “Save pink dolphins” and “Cut up your Fubon credit cards,” environmentalists ­yesterday tore up replica Fubon credit cards in the protest.

LIFE EXPECTANCY

“According to studies, [the pollution brought by] the petrochemical industrial park will shorten the average life expectancy in the country by 23 days,” Green Party Taiwan convener Pan Han-sheng (潘翰聲) said. “Taipei Fubon Bank, whose investment in the petrochemical park project accounts for 4 percent of the total amount of investment, is responsible for one day’s decrease.”

Pan said that according to the Equator Principles upheld by over 70 multinational banks around the world, a signatory financial institution should not provide mortgages to development projects that do not take into consideration corporate social responsibilities and environmental protection.

“Fubon calls itself an ­international bank, but apparently it doesn’t care much about such issues,” said Pan, urging the public to boycott the bank and all its financial products and services if it does not withdraw its investment in the petrochemical park project.

“If you have a Fubon account, close it; if you invest through Fubon, stop doing so; if you play a sports lottery that’s run by Fubon, don’t do it anymore,” Pan said. “With every cent you put into the hands of Taipei Fubon Bank, you’re contributing to a project that may kill you.”

ENDANGERED DOLPHINS

Environmentalists and Changhua County residents worry that pollution from the petrochemical park will not only destroy the local agricultural, fishing and fish farming industries, but will also kill critically endangered pink dolphins.

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union Changhua Division executive director Shih Yueh-ying (施月英) said that although there are many other shareholders in the project, “Taipei Fubon Bank is the only one that is not in the petrochemical industry. Hence, the bank’s own business would not be affected if it withdrew from the project. That’s why we’re aiming at the bank first.”

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