Stockholm (NordSIP) DNB, the largest bank in Norway, has ended its involvement in the Dakota Access oil pipeline by selling its shares. The bank had announced in November that it would renew participation in the financing of the Energy Transfer Partners LP project, the purpose of which is to move crude oil from the Northern plains to the Midwest and then on to the Gulf of Mexico.
The project has faced strong opposition from Native Americans and environmental groups, such as Greenpeace. DNB decided to pull out following a meeting with representatives of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and a 120,000-strong petition submitted to DNB by Greenpeace.
“By selling our stake, we wish to signal how important it is that the affected indigenous population is involved and that their opinions are heard in these types of projects,” said senior DNB executive Harald Serck-Hanssen in a statement. “Although there have been attempts at consultation by the project parties, the outcome of the process suggests these have been inadequate.”
DNB declined to disclose the size of the bank’s loan or who had bought it, Fortune reports. However, Norwegian daily Aftenposten had previously reported that DNB was responsible for NOK 2.8 billion ($331 million) in loans to build the pipeline, amounting to close to 10% of the total cost of the project.
“It is great that DNB has sold its assets in the disputed pipeline, and it is a clear signal that it is important that people speak out when injustice is committed. We now expect DNB to also terminate its loans for the project immediately,” Martin Norman, Greenpeace Norway Sustainable Finance Campaigner said. “There should be a clause in the lending agreement that deals with human rights violations, and DNB should use it to get its money back and end all involvement in the Dakota Acccess pipeline. If they don’t have such a clause they must accept they have a bad contract and take the loss.”
The move also coincided with a meeting Monday between the Council on Ethics for Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) and a group of indigenous women from the U.S. to discuss its own investments in the Dakota Access oil pipeline. The council was to assess whether the fund’s investments measure up to its ethical guidelines. The GPFG has roughly €1.2 billion invested in five companies supporting the pipeline project in the form of equities and corporate bonds, according to its published investments.
The U.S. delegation was joined by Vibeke Larsen, president of the Sami Parliament in Norway and a supporter of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in the U.S., in its opposition to the construction and operation of the pipeline.