Despite a history of pushback from groups concerned with PNC Bank’s environmental practices, Penn has renewed their contract with PNC Bank for five more years beginning July 1, 2015.
Back in 2013 — the last time Penn’s contract with PNC was coming to a close — a student group known as Penn Community Against Mountaintop Removal pushed back against the University's expected renewal of its contract with the bank because of its funding for mountaintop removal programs. Mountaintop removal is used to access coal steams underneath. PNC still finances this practice, but has cut back in doing so.
The Earth Quaker Action Team, a grassroots organization “dedicated to using nonviolent action to create a sustainable economy,” is currently leading a campaign known as Bank Like Appalachia Matters to get PNC out of the practice of mountaintop removal, EQTA coordinator Matthew Armstead said. Armstead counts the campaign as a success so far since PNC agreed not to finance companies that get 50 percent of their income from mountaintop removal.
EQAT has worked with Penn students in the past, and Armstead stressed that the organization will always support "students when there is a passion and interest to do so." Past efforts have included Penn students and EQAT members teaming up to launch outreach that ensures that existing and new customers alike know and understand what PNC is really doing.
“Mountaintop removal is an issue that not only PNC is challenged by, but other institutions as well,” said Associate Vice President of Penn’s Department of Business Services Chris Bradie. He explained that since there is not legislation against the practice of mountaintop removal, PNC lends to companies that partake in the activity despite environmental concerns.
Bradie and Director of Communications for Business Services Barbara Lea-Kruger explained how they evaluate companies that would fit best with Penn through a Request for Proposal. Recent changes in the RFP include looking at civic engagements and social practices, and ensuring disclosure of anything the students should hear about, Bradie said. Lea-Kruger said BDS wants to ensure that they maintain their “social responsibility."
“As part of our RFP process this time, we focused on what has changed,” Bradie said. “We are not shy or subtle about the concerns expressed by constituents.”Comments powered by Disqus
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