Canada’s Big Banks have a Big Problem: Their addiction to fossil fuels
March 24, 2021
The new Banking on Climate Chaos report reveals that Canada’s big 5 banks have poured more than C$726 billion into fossil fuels since the Paris Climate Accord was signed. That includes more C$299 billion into expansion projects. It’s shameful and it’s got to stop.
So Stand.earth, with a network of awesome groups launched “RBC Revealed” to inform Canadians, investors, and shareholders about the misleading environmental claims of Canada’s largest bank, RBC which leads the Canadian pack.
RBC has financed C$208 billion in fossil fuels in the past 5 years, making it the fifth largest funder of fossil fuels IN THE WORLD. That includes more than C$79 billion in fossil fuel expansion projects.
Despite past claims about working with its clients to respect Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) by Indigenous Peoples, it is financing projects vociferously opposed by Indigenous nations, including Line 3 and Coastal Gas Link pipelines. And to top it off, between October 2018 and October 2020, RBC financed C$14 billion in coal projects; it is the 12th largest coal lender in the world.
Here’s what some of our allies have said:
“By continuing to provide project-critical financing to projects such as Enbridge’s Line 3, RBC is directly trampling upon the rights of First Nations peoples that have been recognized and affirmed through the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including that of Free, Prior and Informed Consent,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
“RBC must be accountable to their direct contributions to the endangerment of Indigenous Title and Rights, health, and welfare by immediately adopting the principle of FPIC and taking substantive action to stop funding industrial megaprojects that do not have Indigenous consent.” “We youth are letting RBC and all the Big Banks know that we are watching them closely,” said Chloe Tse with Fridays for the Future Toronto.
“The stakes are high: my future and that of my friends and family are on the line and Indigenous Rights are being violated. We cannot stand idly by as RBC pretends to care about climate change and human rights, all the while making destructive investments.” “Even global energy giants are writing off billions in oil and gas assets and investing in renewables,” said Cherry Tsoi, Senior Campaigner with Leadnow.
“Banks like RBC are the last lifelines keeping destructive fossil fuel projects afloat. For us to have a chance at avoiding a climate crisis, RBC needs to step up to the plate and pull out of fossil fuels now.” “RBC trying to erase its record as one of the largest fossil fuel financiers in the world by upping its sustainability investments is like eating an apple to negate a meal of donuts,” said Richard Brooks, Stand.earth’s Climate Finance Director. “It’s past time for Canada’s largest bank to kick its addiction to tar sands and coal and help truly build the green and just future we need.”
In February, RBC pledged to reach net zero in financed emissions by 2050 and to raise its target for “sustainable finance.” But it set no short or medium-term targets that would reduce its fossil fuel financing on a meaningful timeline and defines “sustainable finance” to include fossil fuel companies like Enbridge – the Line 3 proponent. That’s pure greenwash and we’re calling them on it.