Tennis star asks Credit Suisse to review the bank’s business relationship with Indonesian pulp and paper group RGE/APRIL (via Bruno Manser Fonds)
(BASEL, SWITZERLAND / PULAU PADANG, RIAU, INDONESIA) – Tennis star Roger Federer is calling on Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank, to review their business relationship with RGE/APRIL, an Indonesian pulp and paper group that is responsible for the wide-spread clearcutting of rainforests in the Indonesian province of Riau (Sumatra). Federer was approached last month by Isnadi Esman and Woro Supartinah, two Indonesian activists who had travelled to Switzerland to protest against a 50 million Euro loan granted by Credit Suisse to RGE/APRIL.
“I have learnt about your letter to me, outlining the difficult rainforest situation in Riau”, Federer writes to the Indonesian campaigners. “I take your concerns seriously. In response to your letter and as ambassador for Credit Suisse, I would like to emphasize that I will advocate for and have complete trust that they analyse such issues thoroughly, evaluate all options and that their decisions are well thought out.”
The tennis star continues: “Additionally, I encourage you to continue the ongoing dialogue with Credit Suisse in order to minimise any sustainability issues and increase the common understanding.”
On 24 April 2015, Isnadi and Woro informed Credit Suisse’s top management on RGE/APRIL’s conduct in Riau at the bank’s annual general meeting in Zurich. The bank’s Chief Risk Officer, Joachim Oechslin, promised to personally vet every potential future transaction with the Indonesian group.
RGE/APRIL has been accused of illegal logging, peatland clearing and numerous human rights violations in their operations in Riau. Credit Suisse, together with a number of Chinese banks, are the Indonesian group’s main financial backers.