Our long term partner the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) announced today  a win on pushing Canada’s biggest bank forward on Indigenous rights. Here are the highlights from the UBCIC’s statement:

In response to two successive shareholder resolutions filed by the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU), with support from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), RBC launched a new component to its Environmental and Social Risk process, which asks questions about impacts on Indigenous lands and communities (I-ESR).

In addition, the bank has amended its human rights statement to invoke internationally recognized standards for Indigenous rights. Furthermore, RBC agreed to include a review of its new I-ESR policies in its racial equity audit to be completed in 2025.

“We are pleased to report that after over a year of negotiations, RBC has now charted a more meaningful course towards upholding Indigenous rights,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “After last year’s AGM debacle and ignoring the voices of proper title holders like the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, it is refreshing to see a change to RBC’s approach”.

RBC is the third Canadian chartered bank to agree to terms and commitments related to a shareholder proposal on FPIC filed by BCGEU and UBCIC, following commitments from both TD Bank and the Bank of Montreal in 2023.

Read the full statement on the UBCIC website.

In response to today’s release of a Climate Report by RBC that finally addressed some of its own corporate impacts on our climate, partners in the network released the following response.

RBC Climate Report Falls Well Short of What’s Needed Amid Escalating Climate Crisis


One of the world’s largest financiers of fossil fuels shows no sign of slowing down in financing the climate crisis nor increasing respect for Indigenous rights.

Ahead of its annual shareholder meeting on April 11, Royal Bank of Canada released its Climate Report this morning with commitments to increase low-carbon financing, a clear response to growing public pressure faced by Canada’s largest fossil fuel financier. Unfortunately, the report fails to address necessary fossil fuel phase-out, making it insufficient and incremental to meet the scale of the crisis.

“Everyday there is harm caused to Indigenous communities by the projects RBC is financing, and the impacts on our health extend for decades and generations. This doesn’t change with some additional funding to renewables, and RBC needs to be accountable for the damage it is causing today. RBC will continue to face financial risk and opposition by financing projects that don’t have proper protocol and consent from Indigenous nations,” says Vanessa Gray, Divestment Coordinator, Indigenous Climate Action.

Report highlights include:

  • RBC notes that it will triple low-carbon energy funding to $35 billion by 2030. While this initially may sound impressive, RBC pumped $38 billion into fossil fuel companies in 2022 alone. This means its ratio of clean to dirty energy financing would only be 1:1 by 2030, when experts at the International Energy Agency and BloombergNEF clearly state financing needs to be 4:1 by 2030. The New York City Comptroller filed a shareholder resolution calling for a report on the bank’s dirty to clean energy financing to be voted on at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting on April 11 in Toronto. The remaining question is whether RBC intends to scale-down its fossil fuel financing.
  • RBC admits the majority of its oil and gas clients “do not have 1.5ºC aligned emissions reduction targets,” yet presents no plan for helping them transition or dropping them. According to the bank’s own data, only 2% of its oil and gas clients have 1.5ºC aligned transition plans and even these are not considered to be “Advanced” in the bank’s assessment of its clients. RBC says it is “committed to taking action to bring down our absolute financed emissions for this sector over time,” but has refused to set an absolute emissions reduction target for its business, relying on intensity targets that can lead to an increase in overall emissions. In a positive step, it has for the first time disclosed its absolute financed emissions at 71.4 million tonnes but this is massive and equivalent to emissions by all cars and light trucks in Canada in a year.
  • RBC offers an updated definition of “Sustainable Financing.” Unfortunately, it continues to categorise greenwashed sustainability-linked loans and bonds to fossil fuel companies as “Sustainable Finance.” RBC also points to unproven carbon capture and storage projects (CCS) and biomass energy (burning of trees to produce power) to qualify as sustainable finance.
  • RBC created a new CEO and executive compensation incentive if the bank makes progress on its climate-related goals.
    The report fails to address the investment activities of a major part of RBC’s business, its Wealth Management and Asset Management divisions. RBC is top shareholder as a result of these divisions, in many major oil and gas companies including Suncor, Enbridge and TC Energy, all of whom are embroiled in highly controversial and contested fossil fuel expansion projects and rollbacks of climate related commitments.


RBC is one of the world’s largest fossil fuel financiers, according to the Banking on Climate Chaos report, financing over US$38 billion in coal, oil, and gas in 2022 alone. This comes after the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its World Energy Outlook report last fall, which reveals how Canada’s financial institutions, led by RBC, are dragging the country backward on the “unstoppable” transition to clean energy by doubling down on fossil fuels.

“Thanks to our growing and powerful movement, RBC is taking a small step forward with a commitment to triple low-carbon energy financing by 2030. But RBC’s financing of dirty coal, oil and gas – to the tune of $37 billion in 2023 – is like pouring fuel on the fire while considering buying a fire extinguisher,” said Richard Brooks, Climate Finance Director, Stand.earth. “These incremental steps are insufficient and irresponsible on the heels of the hottest year on record and an increasingly year-round wildfire season. Canada’s largest bank has a responsibility to all of us to accelerate the energy transition. We’ll keep pushing to get them to meet the moment we are in.”

RBC’s latest commitments come as the bank continues to be under active investigation by Canada’s Competition Bureau for allegedly misleading the public about its climate record using greenwashing ads.

“RBC can finesse its messaging and attempt to greenwash its targets, but students and young people in Canada have no interest in playing a numbers game. As long as RBC continues to fund fossil fuel expansion with no plan for wind-down, students will continue to see that RBC is putting our futures at risk”, says Evelyn Austin, Executive Director, Change Course.

Earlier today, InfluenceMap released a new report revealing Canada’s Big Five banks are undermining net-zero commitments through fossil fuel financing, lack of strong sector policies, and inconsistent policy engagement. RBC fossil financing actively undermines Canada from achieving its 2030 and 2050 climate goals.

“Allowing banks to set their own rules based on how far their oil clients are willing to go – rather than what science and communities on the frontlines of extraction say is necessary – is a recipe for climate disaster,” added Laura Ullmann, Head of Climate, Greenpeace Canada. “Today’s announcement by RBC shows just how badly we need the Minister of Finance to regulate the banks if we are to have any hope of achieving the government’s own climate & reconciliation targets.”

RBC’s continues to back climate-destroying projects in Canada and around the world, including Coastal GasLink and TransMountain that lack Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous peoples, and destroying lands from British Columbia and the Gulf Coast, to Amazonia and East Africa, and beyond.

We continue to call on RBC to:

  • Stop financing fossil fuel expansion and stop funding projects like Coastal GasLink and TransMountain.
  • Respect Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in all financing decisions.
  • Credible plan for a fossil financing phase out, with matching restrictive policies, in line with the conclusions of the IEA’s net-zero emissions scenario on no fossil fuel expansion. This must include oil and gas sectoral targets of a 50% absolute emissions reduction covering all aspects of RBC’s business including scope 1, 2, and scope 3 emissions (including financed emissions) by 2030.

A new report out today from UK based think tank Influence Map highlighted how far behind Canada’s big banks are when it comes to climate, even when compared to their larger US counterparts.

Influence Map found the banks “are undermining their own net zero commitments through their financing activities, lack of robust sector financing policies, and inconsistent policy engagement”.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Banks fossil fuel financing activities are highly misaligned with net zero, and increased their fossil fuel financing while European and US banks dropped it
  • Canadian banks lack even a basic thermal coal phaseout policies
  • None of the banks use their lobbying muscle to advocate for climate friendly policies. In fact they are aligned with lobby groups (like the Canadian Association for Petroleum Producers) who block climate policies
  • Canada’s big banks also lag on clean energy financing, with ratios far below European or US banks


The Influence Map report was released (coindidentally) on the same day as RBC released a new climate plan. The report garnered significant national and global media attention including in Bloomberg, The Financial Post, Canada’s National Observer, Reuters, ESG News, Corporate Knights, BNN Bloomberg, The Canadian Press, and Yahoo News.

Read the full report on the Influence Map website.

Today the shareholder advocacy group Investors for Paris Compliance lodged a securities complaint with the Ontario Securities Commission and the Autorité des marchés financiers of Québec alleging misleading disclosure by Canada’s big five banks regarding their sustainable finance activity. RBC is registered in Québec while BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank and TD are registered in Ontario.

Each of the five banks has made a sustainable finance – or some similarly worded – commitment in the hundreds of billions of dollars and lists this as a central way it will reach its net zero target, yet none discloses the emissions impact of deals in this business segment and the complaint documents several instances where sustainable finance deals have increased instead of reduced emissions.

“At best, sustainable finance as currently practiced by Canada’s big banks is a $2 trillion placebo at a time when we need strong medicine to reduce emissions,” said Matt Price, Executive Director with Investors for Paris Compliance. “At worst, it is greenwashing of carbon-intensive businesses, misleading investors and the public.”

The complaint documents:

  • Canada’s securities regulators, via the Canadian Securities Administrators, have clarified that ESG disclosure is subject to the same rules of accuracy and completeness as financial disclosure, and have flagged concerns regarding greenwashing.

  • Each of the banks has acknowledged climate change poses significant risk to their business, and therefore to their securities holders.

  • Each of the banks has made a net zero commitment and lists sustainable finance – or something similarly worded – as a central way they will meet its commitment.

  • Yet, there is no disclosure of the emissions impact of deals in this business segment, meaning there is no practical distinction with the banks ‘regular’ financing.

  • Worse, there are several examples of deals done under this label increasing rather than decreasing emissions – this is greenwashing and exposes the absence of rules governing the segment.

  • Bank securities holders are therefore being misled as to the nature of the banks’ response to the business risk that climate change represents.

Securities regulators have the authority to initiate investigations, require corrective disclosure, or issue specific guidance. The complaint asks for such guidance regarding ESG-labeled bonds, which form part of the sustainable finance.

Other studies have similarly found shortcomings with Canadian bank climate financing. A recent BloombergNEF report found Canada’s banks to have some of the worst ratios of low-carbon to fossil-fuel financing in the world.

“Securities regulators in Canada have expressed a general concern with greenwashing, and now investors need them to follow through with specific action to protect bank securities holders,” said Price. “Meanwhile, we need the banks to get serious about shifting finance out of fossil fuels and into ventures that reduce emissions.”

This is a deal that’s bad for everyone but the bankers. That’s the strong message sent from representatives of a growing collection of civil society organizations who are raising significant concerns over the proposed acquisition of HSBC Canada by RBC.

If approved, it would be the largest bank merger in Canadian history, leaving Canadians with higher rates and fewer financial choices, while further concentrating the power and market dominance of Canada’s biggest bank.

This takeover will put further pressure on housing affordability and cost of living at a time when Canadians are already suffering. As one of the world’s top funders of fossil fuels, taking over HSBC’s Canadian operations, at a time when its parent company was already taking concrete action to lower its financed emissions, is a significant step backwards on climate.

RBC also has a deeply troubling track record on Indigenous reconciliation, by funding projects that violate Indigenous rights and lack meaningful policies on Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples.

That’s why a number of organizations including Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project,Environmental Defence, Gidimt’en Checkpoint, The Shift, Greenpeace Canada, Stand.earth, Shift: Action for Pension Health and Planet Health, For Our Kids, Re:Generation, Decolonial Solidarity, Climate Action Network Canada and Leadnow came together to launch the STOP THE RBC TAKEOVER campaign.

“Less competition in banking means higher prices and fewer options for Canadians already struggling to meet record mortgage payments,” said Keldon Bester, Executive Director of the Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project. “Canadians should not have to bear the cost of eroding competition in our banking sector as a result of our weak competition laws. Minister Freeland must block this transaction and protect competition.”

“Canada’s biggest bank is a major actor in the housing space. They have an obligation to contribute to the realization of the right to housing, especially in light of the unprecedented unaffordability faced by many homeowners and tenants,” added Leilani Farha, Global Director of The Shift, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing. “Instead, by purchasing a competitor, they grow their personal lending business, increase the cost to borrow for HSBC mortgage holders, and decrease options for future homeowners.”

RBC also remains under investigation by the Competition Bureau for allegations of misleading climate advertising after six members of the public submitted a formal complaint.

Canada’s biggest banks have contributed almost 20% of the fossil fuel financing from all western banks since the Paris climate agreement was signed. RBC has contributed over $340B (CAD) in fossil fuel financing since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2016, making it one of the world’s largest funders of the companies and industries driving climate change.

“If the federal government wants to keep its promises to Canadians about climate action, it has to regulate the financial sector in a way that aligns with Paris Agreement commitments,” added Julie Segal, Senior Manager, Climate Finance, Environmental Defence. “HSBC global is moving towards decarbonization while RBC is showing a tragic track record on climate action, underinvesting in clean energy, and disproportionately investing in oil, gas, and coal. Canada can only keep a safer climate if our financial institutions actively invest in climate solutions instead of climate pollution. Approving this deal, especially without adding any climate-related conditions, would entrench Canada’s financial sector in the wrong direction on climate action.”

RBC’s policies of funding projects that lack Free, Prior, and Informed Consent is leading to them financing police violence and human rights violations around the world including on sovereign Indigenous lands like the Wet’suwet’en traditional territory, as the primary funder of Coastal GasLink. The project lacks the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs – the rightful titleholders of the territory. At its 2023 AGM, the bank deployed police to harass and intimidate Indigenous shareholders and proxy holders, and applied a colour-coded reserve system, forcing Indigenous delegates into a second room.

“In 2023, no bank that operates like RBC should get any more opportunity to expand when they violate Indigenous sovereignty through their investments in fossil fuel projects that are

destroying our lands, water and air,” said Eve Saint, Wet’suwet’en Land Defender. “Canada and its institutions must not only embrace Free, Prior and Informed Consent but ground it in all of its policies and decisions. RBC doesn’t, and that’s why I’m calling on Minister Freeland to kill the deal.”

The Conservatives, NDP, Bloc Québécois, and Green Party have all publicly raised concerns about the proposed acquisition, as has the Finance Committee. They all have asked the Federal Government to kill the deal.

Ottawa has signaled a commitment to addressing the housing crisis, improving competition, addressing climate change, and integrating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) into its policies and legislation. Approving this bank takeover is a step backward that we can’t afford to take. This deal raises concerns in these four key areas of government policy, that is why we are calling on Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to STOP THE HSBC TAKEOVER.

As reported in the Globe and Mail, the finance committee in the House of Commons voted yesterday to call on the government to block the takeover of HSBC Canada by RBC. The vote passed unanimously.

In a report tabled by the House finance committee late Wednesday evening, the group recommended that Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland – who has the final say on the deal – reject the merger. Each of the six opposition party members on the committee voted in favour of the motion, while the six Liberals abstained.

The Conservative-led motion said that Canada’s competitive “intensity” is in decline, that the small number of financial institutions in the Canadian banking sector represents a lack of competition and that the loss of a lender could cause banking fees to rise.

The RBC takeover of HSBC has become a hot potato of a political issue, with the leader of the federal Conservative Party coming out against the takeover last week, saying it will remove banking competition just at a time when Canadians need relief on affordability.

Read the full story of the House of Commons Finance Committee motion opposing the takeover in the Globe.

Today the Environment Committee in Canada’s House of Commons jointly approved a study on the impacts of Canadian financial institutions on climate and the environment. The study plans to call the CEO’s of Canada’s big 6 banks, including RBC CEO Dave McKay, to testify before the House committee.

As the study gets closer civil society groups will be working to ensure proper attention is paid to this study.

The full house of commons motion is here, with the highlights below:


It was agreed, — That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study on environment and climate impacts related to the Canadian financial system, including banking institutions and pension funds under federal jurisdiction;

That this study includes 1) current practices in this sector and 2) an analysis of regulatory and legislative mechanisms the government of Canada could implement to ensure its financial regime aligns with the Paris Agreement and thus, promote the reduction of inherent risks, namely physical and transition risks;

That the committee invite the Expert panel on sustainable finance, international organizations like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations, the minister of Finance, the minister of Environment and Climate change, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the CEOs of Canada’s five major banking institutions (RBC, TD, CIBC, BMO, Scotia Bank), Co-operators, experts and other stakeholders;

That the committee hold a minimum of nine meetings and report its findings and recommendations to the House of Commons.


We are writing in regards to the Department of Finance’s consultation regarding the proposed acquisition of HSBC Bank of Canada (HSBC) by RBC Royal Bank (RBC). The undersigned groups urge the Department to either reject the proposed acquisition, or accept it conditional on RBC i) implementing a Credible Climate Plan and ii) committing to meeting or exceeding HSBC’s international commitments to ending investments in fossil fuels.

RBC is both the largest bank in Canada and the largest financier of fossil fuels globally. HSBC, by contrast, set a global precedent by announcing a policy to stop financing new oil and gas projects and has stated that its investments in fossil fuels will decrease. The Canadian federal government’s climate goals can only be met if private finance flows in the right direction. If the Department were to accept the proposed acquisition without adding climate related conditions, the acquisition would result in: impeding progress on Canada’s fight against climate change, fewer green options for Canadian banking consumers, and unmanageable levels of climate-related risks destabilizing the Canadian financial system.

RBC’s ongoing financing of high emitting companies and projects contributes to worsening the effects of climate change. RBC has financed over C$340 B in fossil fuels since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed, and in 2022 was the world’s #1 funder of fossil fuels. RBC has set only “emissions intensity” targets for 2030, which would allow its total financed emissions to rise. The bank touts billions set aside for “sustainable finance,” but included in this category a C$1 B loan for an Enbridge oil sands pipeline. The scale of RBC’s investment into sustainable projects is negligible relative to its investments in climate-damaging fossil fuels, with a recent report showing RBC puts $99 of its energy finance into fossil fuels for every $1 in renewable energy. Despite claims to be Net Zero by 2050 and to support clients in the energy transition, RBC’s business practices show it has no intention of cutting its financing of fossil fuels.

RBC’s track record is relevant in comparison to that of HSBC Canada, which has taken further action to deliver on its sustainability commitments. HSBC Canada helped issue Canada’s first green bond, had many corporate clients who valued sustainability, and consistently ranks higher than RBC in Corporate Knights Corporate Citizenship rankings. In 2022, HSBC announced a global policy to stop financing new oil and gas projects, which, while imperfect, set a new global precedent and was welcomed by UK NGOs. Importantly for your consideration, RBC had that climate policy exempted from HSBC Canada as a condition for the takeover in question.

In 2022 HSBC’s global fossil fuel financing declined, and will continue to do so based on its commitments, while RBC’s increased making RBC the top global banker of fossil fuels.

Climate change has been identified by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) as one of the top risks to the stability of the financial system. According to OSFI, federally regulated financial institutions and private pension plans face physical risks (i.e., from climate change-related weather events) and transition risks (i.e., transition to a low greenhouse gas emitting or “low carbon” economy.) These risks are considered “transversal” in nature because they drive more traditional risks, including credit, market, insurance, operational and legal risks, which could exacerbate over time, impacting the safety and soundness of individual financial institutions, and the Canadian financial system more broadly.

Consolidation within the sector where a poor climate performer absorbs a counterpart with better performance undermines the stability of the financial system. The loss of a competitor moving to phase down its support for fossil fuels would further consolidate Canadian investment into an area at risk of becoming stranded, worsening the level of climate risk in our national economy. Over C$100 B of Canadian assets are at risk of becoming stranded, due to the financial sector moving too slowly on the climate transition. The Canadian Energy Regulator’s recent Net Zero report shows Canadian energy production would decrease by over 76% if the world succeeds in reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The Bank of Canada estimates that the Canadian economy could experience an 8-to-10 percent decline in GDP due to being unprepared for the climate transition.

The proposed transaction would have various other negative impacts on Canadians which should be considered, including implications on consumer mortgage rates, housing affordability, and the cost of living. RBC has also demonstrated significant cases of mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples and does not have meaningful policies to address the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples.

The Federal Government has advanced a whole of government approach to fighting climate change, however private finance remains a gaping hole. As long as financial institutions are allowed to expand support for the companies making climate change worse, Canada’s financial system and our ability to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement will be at risk.

Finance Minister Freeland has publicly stated that “the global economy is turning swiftly, decisively, and irreversibly green. It is essential for Canada to be at the forefront of this great transformation.” We therefore urge you to either reject the proposed acquisition, or to accept it conditional on our two recommended constraints of RBC i) implementing a Credible Climate Plan and ii) committing to meeting or exceeding HSBC’s international commitments to ending investments in fossil fuels.


  • Stand.earth
  • Ecojustice
  • For Our Kids
  • Decolonial Solidarity
  • Shift: Action for Pension Health and Planet Wealth
  • Environmental Defence Canada
  • Leadnow
  • Re_Generation
  • Quit RBC / Lâche RBC
  • Climate Justice Thunder Bay
  • Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign
  • Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat Canada
  • Regroupement pour la responsabilité sociale (RRSE)


The above letter was submitted to the Federal Department of Finance as part of their consultations for reviewing the takeover of HSBC by RBC.

Walking out of my home in Toronto to the smell of wildfires in the air in recent days has been jarring. I’ve felt a new wave of climate anxiety, listening to public health advice and sending my 12-year-old to school through the haze in a pandemic-era mask.

As I experience the climate crisis in a new way, it makes me think about so many other communities, most often Indigenous and racialized people, who are the most impacted by climate change and the least protected. The past few weeks were no exception, with thousands forced to evacuate remote First Nations communities.

At the same time, I’m feeling the sting of sky-high grocery bills as I support my family, and watching affordable housing become even further out of reach — realities that also hit marginalized and low-income communities hardest.

Right now, a deal is in the works that could make life even harder for Canadian families as we live through a climate crisis driven by fossil fuels and an affordability crisis fuelled by the pursuit of corporate profits.

RBC, Canada’s largest bank and the world’s largest fossil fuel financier, is trying to buy HSBC’s Canadian division. If approved, it would be the biggest bank merger in Canadian history and would mean Canadians face even higher costs to bank and borrow just as it seems the cost of living crisis couldn’t get any worse.

Less competition means less pressure to make products affordable. Last year, RBC made $15.8 billion in profits and recently raised credit card interest rates from an already high 19.99 per cent to 20.99 per cent, further squeezing families trying to cover costs.

Like everyone across the country, families in Toronto are scrambling to secure affordable housing. HSBC Bank Canada is an aggressive competitor to RBC on mortgage rates, currently beating big banks like RBC by 0.75 per cent — that’s over $30,000 less in interest paid over five years by Vancouver and Toronto residents.

RBC is the world’s largest financier of fossil fuels, financing over $55 billion in fossil fuel projects last year alone and $340 billion since 2016. Its climate plan has been largely panned since it allows the bank to keep investing in oil and gas and continue to drive up emissions, and the Competition Bureau is investigating the company for misleading climate claims across its products and advertisements as it looks into the proposed purchase.

Among the fossil fuel projects RBC finances are the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which violate Indigenous sovereignty and have been used to justify violence against land defenders. Indigenous Peoples, meanwhile, continue to face disproportionate impacts from climate change even as their stewardship and defence of the land is one of the most effective forms of climate action.

HSBC is actually reducing fossil fuel funding year over year and announcing it will no longer invest in new oil and gas fields. HSBC Bank Canada was excluded from that policy in the lead-up to the proposed purchase by RBC.

Taking HSBC Bank Canada out of the picture means Canadians will have one less option for more sustainable banking — at a time when 70 per cent of us are worried about climate change — and will reduce pressure on RBC to move away from oil and gas.

With wildfire smoke keeping kids inside and sweltering temperatures that continue to break records, it’s clear what we’re experiencing is tied to fossil fuels and the climate crisis. As our climate changes, kids face elevated risks of asthma, allergies, food insecurity and a growing mental health crisis.

Until July 6, the public has an opportunity to weigh in on the merger. I’ll be submitting a comment on behalf of my son to say it’s time to put the well-being of our kids and communities ahead of RBC’s bottomline. The last thing we need is Canada’s biggest bank and the world’s largest fossil fuel financier becoming more powerful.

If we believe in reconciliation, an equitable society, making life affordable for all Canadians, and a safe environment for our kids to grow up in, we have to take this opportunity to say no to this merger.

Vanessa Brown is a Toronto-based parent, small business owner, volunteer with the BE Initiative, a Black-led environmental justice not-for-profit, and volunteer with For Our Kids, a national network of people taking climate action on behalf of their kids.


The above was an opinion article originally posted in the National Observer. Read the full article here.

If RBC were taking its climate commitments seriously, you would at least think they would have a strong policy on coal – the world’s dirtiest, deadliest, and dumbest fossil fuel.

But no, RBC seems to have no issues with finding loopholes that enable it to continue financing coal, an energy source that kills potentially a million people a year, that is the biggest cause of climate chaos, and that even RBC’s own home country runs a global campaign to phase out.

A new report released by France based NGO Reclaim Finance, as covered in The Energy Mix, calls the RBC coal policy “one of the poorest among global banks”, allowing RBC to continue to do business with the vast majority of coal mining companies.

The RBC coal policy (allows RBC to continue) doing business with 319 of the 526 coal mining companies and 400 of the 604 coal power companies on the Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) maintained by Urgewald, a non-profit environmental and human rights organization based in Sassenberg, Germany.

Reclaim Finance points to two big gaps in the RBC’s current coal policy:

  • It only excludes new clients, allowing the bank to continue investing in at least 30 companies that are already in its portfolio. That makes RBC the author of “the biggest loophole that can be found in a bank sector policy,” the release says.
  • The exclusion only applies to mining companies that derive at least 60% of their revenue, or utilities that produce at least 60% of their power, from coal. “These thresholds are a long way from best practice as seen at Desjardins in Canada,” with restrictions of 0% for coal mining and 10% for coal power capacity.

Those provisions enable RBC to continue funding clients like coal mining giant Glencore, Reclaim Finance says. The bank also arranged US$5.4-billion in “sustainability-linked” financing for German utility RWE, which “razed a whole village in western Germany to the ground in January 2023 to expand one of its coal mines”.

Read the full story in The Energy Mix.

Image courtesy of Below 2C