As Canada’s #1 fossil bank, RBC rejects climate shareholder resolution on technicality
March 11, 2022
On a minor technicality, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has rejected a climate shareholder resolution that would call for an end to fossil fuel financing for expansion, as reported in the National Observer. The draft submission was 49 words over the limit, and RBC refused to compromise and rejected it outright ahead of their April 7 annual shareholder meeting (AGM).
“As a long-time RBC shareholder, I’m gravely concerned that the bank is a global top 10 lender and investor in coal, oil, and gas corporations causing climate destruction,” said Carl Duivenvoorden. “That’s why I used my shares to file a climate resolution for RBC’s April shareholder meeting. For it to be rejected on a mere word count, before even having the chance to be voted on, is disappointing and unacceptable. What are the real reasons RBC is scared of this resolution?”
Despite the rejection, RBC will face its shareholders on a hand-full of climate resolutions, including resolution on greenwashing of sustainable finance at RBC. Since the Paris agreement was signed, RBC has doubled down on fossil fuel financing, remaining the world’s fifth largest fossil bank and the top fossil financier in Canada.
Wih an estimated CAD $6.6 billion price tag, RBC is among top commercial banks providing the CGL project with working capital, including CAD $275 million in project finance, a co-financed $6.5 billion loan, a $40 million corporate loan, and $200 million in co-financed working capital – while acting as financial advisor for the pipeline.
On February 25, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs held a landmark meeting with CNB and RBC executives, where they issued formal demands and showed a heartbreaking video of the years of police violence, arrests, and raids.
Communities across North America and around the world are gearing up to take action around fossil bank shareholder meetings this Spring, kicking-off with RBC on April 7, which is expected to take place both virtually and in-person in Toronto.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Senior Director, Indigenous Climate Action, said: “RBC is not new to these tactics. They have been willfully blind to the destruction they are financing, including for the tar sands, the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world. This is just the latest example of RBC covering up their role in violating Indigenous rights, not upholding free, prior and informed consent as outlined in UNDRIP, and in exacerbating the climate crisis.”
Sarah Beuhler with Stand.earth, said: “RBC is positioning itself as a climate laggard among the financial sector. While they issue greenwashed net-zero commitments, Canada’s #1 fossil bank is still dodging responsibility by rejecting this climate resolution on a technicality. Ahead of their April 7 shareholder meeting, RBC must act to phase out fossil financing”
Adriana Laurent, Campaigner at Leadnow, said: “RBC talks a big game when it comes to climate action, but their track record shows otherwise. Their rejection of this resolution on a mere technicality is just the latest example of this. If they’re serious about climate leadership, they should face up to their shareholders, and take urgent action to phase out their financing of fossil fuels.”