New national ad campaign reveals RBC's role in fueling fires & drought across Canada

Tuesday September 14, 2021

Canada’s biggest bank is financing the climate crisis to the tune of more than $200 billion dollars

səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Territories (Vancouver, BC) — In the midst of record-breaking heat waves, droughts and forest fires that are devastating communities, Stand.earth is launching a national digital ad campaign to expose the role of Canada’s biggest bank in fueling the climate crisis. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has poured more than $200 billion into coal, oil and gas companies since the Paris Climate Accord was signed and continues to finance billions in new fossil fuel expansion projects  that are behind the worsening extreme weather we are facing. 

 

The video and digital ad buy is national in scope, targeting RBC shareholders, customers and employees and includes media outlets such as CBC, National Post, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and other prominent Canadian sites, with targeted ads also present on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Stand.earth supporters are calling on RBC’s CEO David McKay to stop funneling billions into fossil fuels expansion projects in Canada. 

Since the Paris Agreement was signed, RBC has financed C$79 billion in fossil fuel expansion projects, is the fifth largest funder of fossil fuels in the world, and the largest in Canada.

“For years, RBC has been hiding behind empty environmental promises and vague net-zero emission targets, all the while investing billions into coal, oil, gas expansion projects that often violate Indigenous rights,”  said Amy Gray, Senior Climate Finance Strategist, Stand.earth. “It’s past time for Canada’s largest bank to kick its addiction to tar sands and coal and help truly build the green and just future we need.”

Despite past claims about working with its clients to respect Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) by Indigenous Peoples, many of its financed projects are vociferously opposed by Indigenous nations, including Line 3 and Coastal Gas Link pipelines. 

“It’s clear that Canadian banks and other financial institutions will not act voluntarily with the speed and ambition we need to see,”  said Richard Brooks, Climate Finance Director, Stand.earth. “Our banks should be helping Canada meet its climate targets, not undermining them. The federal government must step in and regulate action by RBC and our other banks and financial institutions.”  

In February, RBC pledged to reach net zero in financed emissions by 2050 and to raise its target for “sustainable finance.” But it set no short or medium-term targets that would reduce its fossil fuel financing on a meaningful timeline and defines “sustainable finance” to include fossil fuel companies like Enbridge – the Line 3 builder.

The ad campaign launches in the wake of the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which noted the urgent need for “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” in order to limit catastrophic impacts of climate change. The UN Secretary General said that the latest IPCC climate science report should be a ‘death knell’ for fossil fuels, but Canada’s big banks, led by RBC and our public pensions remain  part of our collective climate problem instead of being part of the solution. Stand.earth is calling on RBC to phase out financing of fossil fuels, starting with coal and tar sands, and is also demanding that the Bank of Canada issue instructions to all Canadian banks and insurers to stop financing the expansion of fossil fuels, to regulate the commercial banks to reduce their exposure to fossil fuels, and to ensure the investable assets of our central bank are not going into coal, oil and gas companies. 

Screenshot examples of the ads can be found here.

To learn more:

Report: Banking on Climate Chaos (Rainforest Action Network)

Report: Fossil fuel financing in Canada: Financial flows & balance sheet impacts (Greenpeace)

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Media contacts: 

Ziona Eyob, Canadian Communications Manager, canmedia@stand.earth, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)