On 29 January 2020, Divest Invest Protect (DIP), Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program (IPLP), and Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) (together, ‘the complainants’) filed a specific instance against Swiss-headquartered Credit Suisse Group (CRG) at the US NCP. The complaint concerns CRG’s financing of US-based energy company Energy Transfer Partners (ETP). The complainants allege that CRG failed to exercise leverage in its business relationship with ETP to prevent or mitigate potential adverse impacts linked to the ongoing activities of an ETP’s oil pipeline activities. ETP has built and is operating the Bakken Pipeline system, including the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). They allege that CRG failed to  conduct appropriate due diligence to identify, prevent and mitigate actual and potential adverse impacts, including human rights abuses, environmental harms and social impacts to surrounding indigenous communities.

The complaint also highlights the violation of indigenous people’s right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as well as CRG’s continued financing of fossil fuels driving the climate crisis.

Relevant OECD Guidelines


On 31 August 2021, the US NCP published its initial assessment deciding that the case did not merit further examination. The NCP provided two main reasons for its decision. First, according to the NCP, there was an inability to link the business relationship between CRG and ETP to the adverse impacts.

Second, a similar case handled by the Swiss NCP (Society for Threatened Peoples vs. Credit Suisse) regarding CSG’s involvement in financing the DAPL led to an agreement between the parties. According to the agreement, CRG agreed to incorporate FPIC into its internal guidelines on project financing. OECD Watch notes, however, that the present complaint addressed CSG’s involvement in ongoing harms through its continued corporate lending to CSG – not just CSG’s project financing. Nevertheless, the NCP considered that it could not contribute further to the analysis made by the Swiss NCP in Society for Threatened Peoples vs. Credit Suisse. On these bases, the US NCP decided not to accept the complaint.

OECD Watch believes that the US NCP misinterpreted when a bank can be said to be contributing to an adverse impact, including through its corporate lending. OECD Watch also disagrees with the NCP’s assertion that it could not contribute further to the analysis of the Swiss NCP in the earlier complaint against CRG.

The complainants also highlight the differences between the Swiss NCP and US NCP complaints. In the Swiss NCP complaint, international NGO Society for Threatened Peoples was able to reach an agreement with CRG, albeit without the direct involvement of the indigenous communities affected by the pipeline activities. In the complaint to the US NCP, filed in the country in which the alleged harms occurred, and in which the affected indigenous people were themselves complainants, no remedy was reached.

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