Local action on “Fossil Fools Day” contributes to RBC announcements

Photo credit: Submitted.
Posted on: April 17, 2024

More than two dozen people rallied in front of the Perth branch of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) on Saturday April 6 to stop RBC from financing the climate crisis and violating Indigenous rights. Climate Network Lanark activists were joined by members of the Lanark County Drum Circle.  The rally was part of a national day of action in the lead up to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Royal Bank of Canada held in Toronto on April 11th.  

Demonstrators called on RBC CEO, David McKay, to rapidly phase out fossil fuel funding, respect Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples and Nations, and ramp up investments in climate-safe solutions.

Photo credit: Submitted.

A recent report from a coalition of environmental groups shows that the Royal Bank of Canada was the biggest fossil fuel financier in the world in 2022 providing over $42 billion US in funding. Since Canada signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, RBC has invested $262 billion dollars in fossil fuels, and increased their fossil fuel investments last year by $19 billion.

RBC is also a key investor in Coastal Gas Link — funding not only environmental destruction, but also violent assaults on Wet’suwet’en people who are defending their land and waters.  “It is obvious that RBC executives put shareholder profit before human rights and the climate crisis”, stated event co-organizer, Linda Kulkarni. “The choice is clear: RBC can listen to the science and help lead the way to a sustainable economy, or destroy our ecosystem chasing short-term profits and create stranded assets.”

Good news!  Through a nation-wide groundswell of support, sustained pressure over the past two years and negotiations at the table, on April 11, RBC agreed to the following:

  • Indigenous Rights: RBC has expanded its Environmental and Social Risk process, examining the impacts of its clients’ activities on Indigenous lands and communities (I-ESR), amended its human rights statement to invoke internationally recognized standards for Indigenous rights and agreed to include a review of its new I-ESR policies in its racial equity audit to be completed in 2025.
  • Climate Change: RBC will regularly disclose its ratio of clean energy supply financing to fossil fuel extraction financing (Energy Supply Ratio) and its underlying methodology. This agreement is a critical step to better assess the role banks play in the climate transition, and whether or not they are on track to meet their emissions reduction commitments.

Perth event co-organizer Anita Payne commented “Local action can lead to national results!”

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News