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PEOPLE OF THE YEAR 2023

Polluter of the Year runners-up: Searcher Seismic and Standard Bank

Polluter of the Year runners-up: Searcher Seismic and Standard Bank
A group of small-scale fishers and civic organisations raise a banner outside the Cape Town High Court to protest against seismic surveying along the west coast. (Photo: Onke Ngcuka)

Global oil and gas surveyor makes a grab for natural resources along South Africa’s diverse and sensitive coastline, and Standard Bank continues investment in fossil fuel exploration.

Searcher Seismic

As companies around the world make a grab for natural resources along South Africa’s diverse and sensitive coastline, global oil and gas surveyor Searcher Seismic has been at the forefront.

Despite a history of insufficient public participation processes, particularly among small-scale fisher and coastal communities, the Australian company is now looking to take its activities up the coast and into Mozambique. It appears to be unconcerned by the potential harm done to marine life as a result of sound blasts, as well as the people who make a living from the sea.

Standard Bank

A climate policy not aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement, continued investment in fossil fuel exploration, and its stance of considering gas to be a transitional fuel are a few of the reasons Standard Bank should be considered a destroyer of the planet.

Its involvement in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline and its hand in Mozambique’s gas project in Cabo Delgado cannot be missed. This is all despite the bank’s knowledge of the devastating legacy of fossil fuel exploration in Africa.

Though these issues have been raised continuously, Standard Bank stands by mitigation efforts being enough to offset environmental degradation. – OBP team/DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.

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Absa OBP

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