Earth Day can feel pretty frustrating when we see fossil fuel companies and the financial institutions that back them continue their multi-billion ad push to mislead the public into thinking that they are taking the kind of climate action we know is needed.

That’s why after months of trying to hold RBC accountable for its misleading advertisements, yesterday 6 customers filed a formal complaint with the Competition Bureau of Canada, which regulates Canadian ads. Extraordinary efforts by Ecojustice backed by make this complaint happen.

Here is a tweet thread breaking down the greenwashing at the heart of the matter — which has potentially major implications for the financial products ad industry: Click on the link to share.

There has already been some great media coverage of this complaint:

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of UBCIC and one of the 6 complainants said, “RBC is deceiving the public by claiming to be taking climate action while expanding its financing of climate-destroying fossil fuels. Climate change disproportionately impacts Indigenous peoples around the world as well as here in Canada. Until RBC stops financing fossil fuels, advertising itself as Paris Agreement-aligned is greenwashing — and it shouldn’t be tolerated. The UBCIC Chiefs Council has called on RBC to take immediate and substantive action to phase out fossil fuel financing and we will continue to hold RBC to account.”

2 weeks ago, RBC had a perfect chance to announce it was aligning its policies with its stated commitments to climate action at its Annual General Meeting. Instead, RBC CEO Dave McKay doubled down on fossil fuel finance and blew off the Wet’suwt’en Hereditary Chiefs directly asking him to stop financing the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline currently bulldozing through their territory without consent. 

This is just the start of challenging the big banks’ foot-dragging on climate action. They are all greenwashing — and so far they are all getting away with it.
This post was written by Stand.

RBC’s annual shareholder did not go as the giant company had planned. Despite attempting to shut naysayers out by cancelling the in-person meeting down – after 5 PM the night before the meeting – Indigenous leaders and other climate oriented activists and shareholders were still heard.

The cancellation only inflamed activists, who marched through the financial district of downtown Toronto, moving a planned action to the base of RBC’s headquarters. Rallies were also held the same day at over 40 RBC branches across the country. There was even an action at RBC’s new US headquarters in Minneapolis!

Here is a powerful wrap up video from the day:

Major media stories covered the controversy over RBC’s funding of fossil fuels and projects that violate Indigenous rights in major stories in:

  • The Globe and Mail covered the “Barrage of criticism”
  • The CBC story included an interview with Mark Ruffalo
  • The Reuters wire was in many papers including the National Post said the CEO was “slammed”
  • CP Wire covered the story which appeared in Toronto Star, Yahoo Finance, and many other papers
  • Local media covered one of 40 actions at RBC branches across the country, including in the Ottawa Citizen, and in Nanaimo, Markham, and Oliver.
  • And the National Observer did a fantastic in-depth piece, including powerful photos of the Wet’suwet’en chiefs, of how the day unfolded

The story was also covered globally in all leaning global financial media. Stories in Bloomberg, Fortune, and the Financial Times all covered how Canada’s banks are increasingly off-side with the rest of the world, who are moving away from fossil fuels, while banks like RBC double down on climate doom.

Here is a tweet thread from Bank our our Future which also covers the day. A victory for everyone who wants a climate safe future!



Traditional territories of the Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee), Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Mississauga, and Wendake-Nionwentsïo First Nations (so-called Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

In the face of growing opposition to the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)’s financing of fossil fuel projects including the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline, Canada’s largest bank canceled the in-person portion of their annual shareholder meeting less than 24 hrs before it was scheduled. A delegation of Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs announced they were attending the meeting on Wednesday and traveled from British Columbia to attend. The meeting was canceled shortly after, with RBC claiming a COVID outbreak amongst key personnel. Canada’s second largest bank, Scotiabank, held their shareholder meeting on Tuesday, despite their CEO contracting COVID and unable to participate.

“This doesn’t seem like a coincidence,” said Sleydo’, Spokesperson for the Gidimt’en Checkpoint who traveled from the Yintah, the Wet’suwet’en traditional territory, to attend the meeting. “RBC has a track record of ignoring our concerns, and the criticism of shareholders and customers. It seems like they don’t want to answer for their financing of the rights-violating Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline and to face us in person.”

RBC already rejected, based on a technicality, a shareholder resolution that would end its financing of companies expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. The bank still faces three other climate resolutions at Thursday’s AGM. Despite claiming to take the climate crisis seriously and respecting Indigenous rights, RBC has doubled down on fossil fuel financing. RBC is currently the world’s fifth largest fossil bank and Canada’s #1 fossil fuel financier. The bank has financed more than $263 billion CAD in coal, tar sands, oil and gas deals since 2016.

“The one chance we have to address, in person, the CEO, board directors and shareholders, they conveniently make the meeting remote. But it does not stop us from telling our truth and it will strengthen our voices. They can no longer plead ignorance to our existence and opposition to their continuing financial support of such destructive and rights violating projects,” said Hereditary Chief Na’Moks. “We will not be silenced.”

Despite the meeting pivoting to a virtual event, a delegation of Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs will proceed with an 11:00 am EDT march and rally from the Metro Convention Centre, original site of the in-person meeting, to RBC headquarters at 200 Bay Street. The action outside RBC headquarters will happen in conjunction with more than 30 other events planned at RBC branches and locations across Canada.