One of the world’s biggest investors is tired of RBC’s greenwash on climate, and has filed shareholder resolutions at RBC and other US Wall Street firms demanding they set stricter emissions reduction targets.

From Reuters:

New York City’s comptroller and three NYC pension plans are calling on Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to spell out absolute greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2030.

In a statement on Tuesday, Canada’s largest commercial bank was cited with Wall Street peers Bank of America, Goldman Sachs Group, and JPMorgan Chase for “not taking a basic step of setting interim reduction targets that account for total portfolio emissions.”

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System, and Board of Education Retirement System say they have filed shareholder proposals recommending “an absolute reduction target aligned with a science-based net zero emissions pathway” for each lender.

“Shareholders applauded these banks when they set net-zero goals – but it can’t be all talk. We expect them to take the steps needed now to reduce emissions on the timeline to which they have committed,” Lander stated on Tuesday. “Absent a concrete plan to reduce absolute emissions in the real world in the near term, any net-zero plan rings hollow.”

The filing was covered extensively in Canadian and global financial media including:

A new report released today shows how shockingly low major banks’ funding of the green energy transition really is. And not surprisingly, RBC is one of the worst performers globally, despite their rhetoric about spending hundreds of millions on green or “transition finance”, RBC’s total spending on renewables is 1%.

You read that right, 1%.

From Reuters:

The share of bank finance going to renewable energy rather than fossil fuels has little changed in six years, raising questions about how fast lenders are pushing energy clients to become greener, according to research published Tuesday.

Since 2016 renewable energy has taken 7% of a total $2.5 trillion in bank loans and bond underwriting for energy activities, according to a report commissioned by environmental groups including Sierra Club and Fair Finance International.

JPMorgan, Citi and Barclays’ renewable energy share was 2% between 2016 and 2022 and The Royal Bank of Canada’s 1%, the report said.

How low can you go?

Let’s start with what we already know. Banks like Citi, RBC and Barclays are pumping billions of dollars into fossil fuel companies, helping to accelerate the climate crisis. But what about funding for renewables?

Stunningly, of all the money banks lend to energy companies, only 7% (on average) is green. And the averages hide the worst of it. US mega bank Citi pumped $181 billion into energy companies between 2016-2022. And only 2% went to renewables. Same for Barclays, Europe’s biggest fossil fuel funder. Canadian bank RBC have a dismal 1%!

Remember, these are the same banks constantly telling you how green they are. And when we’re not looking, they’re ploughing cash into fossil fuels.


See the full data briefing HERE

Broken promises

Things are also shockingly disappointing for banks which are members of GFANZ – a bunch of financial institutions that pledged to do their bit to tackle climate change. The data shows these banks actually provide less financing for renewable energy, on average, than the banks that are not in GFANZ. It’s a double own goal for GFANZ because their own data says that in order to reach a safe, low carbon world, green energy investments need to account for at least 80% of energy investments compared to fossil fuels by 2030.

Just to reiterate: they need to be at 80%, and they’re currently at 7%. More than 10 times higher!


Why banks, why?

Interestingly, Profundo which compiled the data (for Sierra Club, Fair Finance International, BankTrack and Rainforest Action Network) contacted all the banks, and didn’t get much of a response.

But the Citi CEO Jane Fraser happened to be in Davos for the World Economic Forum this week and when asked whether Citi had ever refused to fund new fossil fuel projects, she responded: “We need to have energy security and we need to be operating on cleaner technologies and the two, as we are seeing right now, cannot be mutually exclusive.”

In other words, no.

This proves that Citi and other banks are prioritising fossil fuels over clean energy. Despite pretending to help us transition off fossil fuels.

So what are banks waiting for? And how much more damaged will our earth have to become for them to properly back renewables and end links to the dying fossil fuels industry?

Read the full article here: