Published in

Resisting Corporate Colonialism, Why We Must #StopEACOP Now


Right now, fossil fuel companies like TotalEnergies and the China National Offshore Oil Company Limited (CNOOC) are attempting to push through the East East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a 1,443 km / 897 mile proposed to run from Kabaale, Uganda to the northeastern coast of Tanzania primarily.

This pipeline is incompatible with a climate-safe future, endangers East African communities, and threatens our economy as we transition off fossil fuels.

But TotalEnergies isn’t doing this alone. A new case study released by and the StopEACOP coalition, Resisting Corporate Colonialism, Why we must stop EACOP Now, reveals the monetary ties between the primary backers of this toxic and unnecessary project and financial institutions across the world: including major North American pension funds and the Royal Bank of Canada.

drought background with red block background with white text reading “Stand releases EACOP case study: A risky oil pipeline that endangers East Africa” with red logo in bottom right corner.

Just 15 U.S. pension and permanent funds have over $1 billion invested in Total energy and CNOOC, the corporations behind the EACOP pipeline. In early 2022, RBC held over 520,000 shares in TotalEnergies, worth USD $26.1 million, more than USD $10 million, and USD $1.45 billion in lending and underwriting.

At top, logo with Climate Safe Pensions. List of 15 U.S. public pension and permanent funds and their holdings in TotalEnergies. TOTAL: $1,024,243,553.

A growing list of insurance companies and major commercial banks — including Barclays, HSBC, ANZ, Credit Suisse, and more — have ruled out financial support for EACOP. In the last few weeks alone, Deutsche Bank and a handful of North American banks announced they would not directly fund EACOP. Yet many of these banks still hold shares in TotalEnergies & companies behind this pipeline.

As part of the powerful movement to stop the money pipeline between financial institutions and fossil fuels, over one million people are demanding we stop this deadly pipeline.

“EACOP is corporate colonialism in action. If it ever sees the light of day, this largest-ever crude oil pipeline risks disastrous consequences for local communities, for wildlife, and for the entire planet,” said Omar Elmawi, coordinator of #StopEACOP. “Now, as banks and asset managers cut ties with TotalEnergies over EACOP concerns, Royal Bank of Canada and North American pensions must divest from this disaster — or sink with it. Together, the community-led, global movement to #StopEACOP is turning our vision of a sustainable energy world into reality.”

As devastating climate impacts unfold around the world, and Eastern Africa faces environmental degradation, widespread community displacement, and climate injustice, North American investors are watching their holdings rise.

This is corporate colonialism in action.

Between 2016 and 2019, the world’s G20 countries provided $47 billion in public financing for fossil fuels in Africa — 3.7 times the amount invested in renewable energy sources.

Behind statistics are real people — millions whose lives and livelihoods are endangered by this deeply flawed project. It would also displace about 118,000 people across Uganda and Tanzania, endangering the region’s unique ecosystems, wetlands, wildlife, fresh water, and food that support millions of Africans.

Global Map with text over it reading “The money behind the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP)”

Those behind EACOP claim the project will energize local economies, yet the majority of the proposed oil and gas pipeline projects in Africa are intended for export, rather than addressing local energy access. In contrast, renewable energy creates 2–5 times more jobs than fossil fuels, per dollar invested. Green investments such as climate adaptation, public transit, conservation agriculture, and energy-efficient building retrofits provide five to 25 times more jobs than fossil fuel extraction and export projects.

“By investing in TotalEnergies, financial institutions around the world are complicit in EACOP’s destruction and enabling climate chaos,” said Amy Gray, Senior Climate Finance Strategist. “For pension funds in North America and Canadian banks like RBC to actually live up to their climate rhetoric, they must join their peers who have already divested from this toxic project, and defund all fossil fuels. The stakes have never been higher.”

To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and curb the worst impacts of climate chaos we can’t develop any new oil and gas projects — in Africa, or anywhere. Now we’re calling on North American pension funds and Royal Bank of Canada to divest from TotalEnergies and CNOOC, and their partners and subsidiaries. Instead of bankrolling billions in destructive fossil fuel projects like EACOP, our financial institutions must support a swift, just transition to clean energy projects and infrastructure.

The time is now. And the stakes have never been higher.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

We challenge corporations and governments to treat people and the environment with respect, because our lives depend on it.