NEW DATA: RBC fossil fuel expansion, extreme energy financing surpassed CAD$10.8 billion in 2022

March 21, 2023
Ahead of RBC’s April 5 AGM, bank’s fossil fuel financing surges in largest jump since Paris Climate Agreement adoption

Indigenous lands of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, Wendake-Nionwentsïo, Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee), Mississauga, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation peoples (so-called, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – In contradiction to international climate agreements and its own public pledges, the Royal Bank of Canada financed over CAD $10.8 billion of companies involved in fossil fuel expansion in 2022 alone, a 45% increase over 2021 levels.

Ahead of RBC’s April 5 shareholder meeting, this breaking research from builds on the November 2022 report Royal Bank of Canada: Surging Finance of Fires, Floods & Climate Chaos.

Richard Brooks Climate Finance Director with, said:

“If this week’s IPCC report is humanity’s survival guide, RBC’s skyrocketing fossil fuel financing is a destruction guide. At a time when even the worst actors are ratcheting back fossil fuel financing, RBC is moving the wrong direction, dragging our climate ambitions backwards and positioning Canadian banks as fossil fuels’ lenders of last resort. Ahead of its April 5 annual general meeting in Saskatoon, RBC should expect a shareholder showdown.”

Highlights include:

  • 2022 fossil fuel financing for expansionists ballooned to $10.8 billion, the highest since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016.

  • 2022 loans and underwriting to fossil fuel expansionists increased by 45% since 2021.

  • $13 billion to fossil fuel expansionists since joining Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ).

  • At the end of Jan 2023, the bank invested, on behalf of its clients, $20 billion in extreme fossil fuels including coal power, fracked gas and tar sands.

  • The total value of RBC’s extreme fossil fuel investments at the end of Q4-2022 was $2.8 billion over the baseline from October 2021, (when RBC joined GFANZ) and $8.2 billion over its baseline Q4-2015 investments when Paris Climate COP21 occurred.

Despite net-zero commitments and public rhetoric, RBC continues to finance fossil fuel expansion, including bankrolling Indigenous sovereignty-violating projects like Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline without consent from Wet’suwet’en Hereditary leadership.

RBC is currently under investigation by the Competition Bureau of Canada for allegedly misleading consumers with climate-related advertising while continuing to increase financing for coal, oil and gas.

There’s a rising trend of shareholder resolutions demanding no financing for fossil fuel expansion, Indigenous sovereignty, and transparency and disclosure on climate risk across Canadian and North American banks. The New York City Comptroller, who manages the USD $242 billion NYC pension funds, announced the filing of a resolution at RBC calling on the bank to set 2030 absolute emissions reduction targets for oil, gas and utility clients.

Ahead of banks’ shareholder meetings, and iconik launched a first-of-its-kind platform to help investors reclaim shareholder voting rights.


Have shares in RBC or any bank? Vote your investments for climate & Indigenous sovereignty!

Ahead of shareholder season, and iconik are launching a first-of-its-kind platform to help investors reclaim shareholder voting rights, and wield our collective financial power on the key issues of our time.

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