Social Responsibility: Banks Go for Green

The world's largest finance firms are taking into account the environmental impact of their lending

It's every corporation's nightmare: a throng of rowdy activists gathers outside company buildings to demonstrate against alleged environmental and human-rights abuses. That was the scene in New York City and Chicago last month as dozens of people in white haz-mat suits converged on the offices of JPMorgan Chase to protest what they claimed was the bank's underwriting of illegal logging in Indonesia and human-rights abuses tied to a Chase-funded mining operation in Peru. Oil companies and industrial giants may be accustomed to such treatment, but not JPMorgan Chase, the second largest bank in the U.S. Two weeks later, the company announced...

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