I recently learned that RBC is one of the top funders of fossil fuel expansion and therefore a direct threat to future generations. I found it very concerning that your bank received an F on fossil fuel expansion policies in the 2019 Banking on Climate Change report released by Banktrack and 1 out of 200 possible points in their 2020 report. The recent Corporate Knights report finds that you have issued more than $16 billion in loans to the O&G industry making RBC the largest funder of fossil fuel expansion in Canada. That money is being used to pump CO2 into our atmosphere, putting millions of lives at risk and driving the 6th mass extinction. I also noted with surprise that your bank refused to sign the U.N. Declaration on Responsible Banking which has been signed by more than 100 major banks around the world.
I am aware that RBC is generally considered to be the most egregious funder of fossil fuel expansion among Canadian banks. On the other hand, I am also aware that, given the broader shift in market sentiment over the past year, many banks are reconsidering their policies in this area. For this reason, I have decided to wait until Earth Day 2021 (April 22) to transfer my money to a more responsible institution. As of today, that will likely be a local credit union, however I am open to the possibility of staying with RBC or transferring to another major Canadian bank which sets ambitious targets for phasing out new loans to fossil fuel companies. Although it is very light on concrete details, TD Bank’s net-zero pledge has caught my eye and I will be giving their first detailed report on decarbonization a long hard look when it is released later in 2021.
In particular, I hope your bank will be able to commit to the following:
- publicly clarify your position on the relation between climate change and the extraction and burning of fossil fuels
- publicly commit to immediately end your support for all new fossil fuel projects, including exploration, extraction, transportation and power
- publish a robust plan for phasing out your support for all existing fossil fuel projects and companies on a timetable consistent with what is necessary to meet the Paris targets.
I know that, as a branch manager, you don’t have much influence on the bank’s fossil fuel policies, but I ask that you pass my concerns up to your district manager and let me know how they respond.