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Citibank responds to pressure from Indigenous leaders and environmental organizations with new Amazon policy: a step forward to address oil and gas expansion

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GLOBAL – Last week, Citibank released its new environmental and social risk management (ESRM) framework, which pledges to no longer provide project-related financing for oil and gas expansion in Amazonia. Stand.earth and the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) welcome this step forward, but call on Citibank to adopt stronger measures that include a geographic exclusion policy for all oil and gas financing in Amazonía, which would prevent and mitigate the risks to Indigenous Peoples, biodiversity, and avert an imminent tipping point in the Amazon.

The new policy excludes financing for project-related financial products or services for expansion of oil and gas operations in the Amazon. While the updates are an improvement over previous policies, which made no such explicit exclusion, project-related deals are estimated to be only 18% of Citibank’s overall direct financing for Amazon oil and gas. That leaves out an estimated 82% of the bank’s financing in the Amazon, according to research conducted by Stand.earth Research Group using the Amazon Banks Database. For the deals that would be covered by the new exclusion policy, key terms including ‘The Amazon’, ‘project-related’ and ‘expansion’ must be defined in order for the public to understand if these changes will have a positive impact. Citibank needs to provide clear definitions as soon as possible, including adopting the RAISG definition of Amazonia in line with other banks’ policies.

The policy update comes after years of pressure from Amazonian Indigenous organizations and environmental civil society groups, and amidst a mobilization of nonviolent civil disobedience in New York City against the bank dubbed “Summer of Heat,” where activists have called on the bank to end their funding of fossil fuel projects in the Amazon and beyond. Advocacy groups recently exposed the bank’s position as the top bankroller financing Amazon oil and gas and the world’s second largest fossil fuels financier. Stand.earth and COICA’s “Greenwashing the Amazon” report shone a spotlight on major gaps in Citibank’s risk and exclusion policies that are now partially addressed through this revised risk framework.

This update coincides with the start of fire season, and just months after the basin registered its worst drought in over 120 years. With over US$ 2.3 billion of direct financing to oil and gas in the Amazon over the past 20 years, Citibank is the most complicit in the sector’s destruction of the largest rainforest on Earth. In the last 20  years, Citibank was a major financier of some of the most notorious companies behind oil exploitation in the Amazon. Examples include PetroEcuador, the state-owned company responsible for the drilling in Yasuní National Park and threatening the last uncontacted peoples in Ecuadorian territory; and Petroperú, also a state company pursuing controversial oil expansion amid Indigenous resistance in Perú.  

Another important aspect of the introduced changes is that Citibank also commits to evaluating the risk profiles of all their oil and gas clients globally. Triggers for this enhanced screening include a) the geographic location of oil and gas assets, b) the risks associated with oil and gas activities, c) the overlap with areas of high caution (including the Amazon), and d) any patterns of regulatory violations, safety incidents, community opposition or litigation related to environmental and social issues. Specific to the Amazon, Citibank now stipulates that any general corporate purpose transactions for clients with operations in the Amazon will require enhanced due diligence. This is a step in the right direction for remedying the greenwashing highlighted in Stand and COICA’s recent “Greenwashing the Amazon” report.

These new policies suggest that deals like the US$ 500 million project-related bond deal in 2023 for Hunt Oil Peru should be a thing of the past. Hunt Oil Peru is a ‘pure play’ company focused solely on the Camisea Gas Project. It holds 25% interest in two gas power plants in Peru. In 2013, the UN called for the “immediate suspension” of any plans to expand the Camisea project, due to the high likelihood that by further intrusion into the Nahua-Nanti Reserve, territory of several Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact, there could be an increased risk of disease and death. The deal is project-related, and the company is operating in an area of high caution with large-scale Indigenous opposition. There will be a close eye on Citibank’s Amazon-related deals in the coming months to see if deals like this continue to pass the bank’s new due diligence framework.

Finally, the policy falls short of recognizing the damaging role of Citibank-funded oil traders like Gunvor. Gunvor recently pleaded guilty for bribery and was ordered to pay approximately $662 million by the US Justice Department for a series of corruption scandals and penalties in the US and Switzerland. Unfortunately, the new Citibank policy does not mention any exclusions or screens related to oil trading. The bank’s policies must address the risks of all their areas of finance, and include special considerations for the high degree of risk posed by intermediaries, current clients of the bank.

On Citibank’s new ESRM policy report, COICA and Stand.earth leaders offered the following statements:

Fany Kuiru, General Coordinator of the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), said:

“Citibank has invested more than $2 billion in a massive expansion of oil and gas in the Amazon, invading our territories, polluting our rivers and making thousands of communities sick. While Citibank’s new policy is an important step toward ending oil and gas, it is insufficient with the Amazon on the brink of the tipping point. Indigenous leaders have repeatedly expressed to Citibank and its state partners the urgency of abandoning oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the face of an impending tipping point. Currently, we are facing profound climatic instability in the region. In Brazil, what began as a severe drought has turned into a humanitarian emergency due to flooding in the south of the country. Once again, I invite the leadership of Citibank to witness firsthand the effects of their decisions on the Amazon, our home. I urge Citibank to stop financing extractivism that threatens Indigenous Peoples and our livelihoods, while annihilating the biodiversity of our rainforest and driving its destruction.”

Martyna Dominiak, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner at Stand.earth, said:

“For over a decade, Citibank has been the largest and the most influential financier of Amazon oil and gas. The bank financed companies responsible for endangering uncontacted Indigenous Peoples, contaminating rivers, and driving oil expansion with rampant corruption. Citi’s new policy addresses some of these issues and is a welcomed next step. But with the Amazon heading for collapse, we need greater action commensurate with the problem. HSBC, another major Amazon oil and gas financier, has already shown how it can be done. Citibank must follow suit and urgently commit to ending oil and gas financing in the Amazon – for the sake of Indigenous Peoples, Earth, and humanity.”

Hannah Saggau, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner at Stand.earth, said:

“Despite new restrictions on Amazon oil and gas financing, Citi is still the world’s #2 fossil fuel financier. While our communities experience devastating climate chaos from fires, floods, hurricanes, and deadly heat, Citi is perpetuating environmental racism and Indigenous rights violations by funneling over $396 billion to the fossil fuel industry since 2016. The bank is reacting to our pressure with this positive step, but the pressure will continue until we see more significant reform of their fossil fuel financing.”

Angeline Robertson, Senior Researcher at Stand.earth Research Group and Lead Author of “Greenwashing the Amazon”, said: 

“Our recent report, ‘Greenwashing the Amazon’, showed how Citibank greenwashes their sustainability policies by ignoring that only 2% of the area of Amazonia, the most biodiverse place on the planet, is covered by their biodiversity exclusions. We will observe closely whether Citibank’s new Amazon exclusion for project-related financing for oil and gas expansion will truly impact the bank’s financial decisions in the coming months and years.” 

 

Exit Amazon Oil and Gas

Since Stand.earth launched the campaign Exit Amazon Oil and Gas, banks including Natixis, BNP Paribas, ING, and Credit Suisse have committed to ending their financing of trade in oil from ports in Ecuador and Peru, which covers much of the crude oil trade from Amazonia including the flow from the Colombian Amazon. In addition, BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Intesa Sanpaolo, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and most recently Barclays have also committed to various oil and gas exclusion policies across the Amazon, some also on a corporate level. 

Citibank’s move, although far from ideal, sends an important signal to other banks who hold the most influence in the region: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Santander. These banks must acknowledge the risk posed to Amazonia and Indigenous Peoples by oil and gas extraction, the legacy of corruption, pollution, deforestation and violence caused by extractive industries, and the responsibility banks have to uphold their commitments to protecting biodiversity, safeguarding human rights, and fighting the climate crisis. 

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Notes to the editors:

Stand.earth and COICA recommend that banks adopt a geographic exclusion covering all transactions involving the oil and gas sector in the Amazon. This is a similar, but more comprehensive, approach to the Arctic exclusions adopted by banks in 2020 to protect the globally significant environmental and social values of that region. This is proposed as the only viable solution to avert a tipping point in the Amazon, which must remain at least 80% protected in order to avoid a tipping point, stop biodiversity loss, mitigate climate change, and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ rights.

Contacts
Europe: Martyna Dominiak, [email protected]
Americas: Lays Ushirobira, [email protected]
Cari Barcas, [email protected]
Bryan Ludeña, [email protected]

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Summer of Heat: Campaign Newsletter #3 & #4

This is a re-publication of a newsletter email from Stop The Money Pipeline about the Summer of Heat campaign. Learn more about the campaign by visiting its website here.

Since June 10th, 296 people have been arrested at Citi’s global headquarters for demanding an end to fossil fuel expansion. This morning, 46 elders, including faith leaders, scientists, and movement luminary Bill McKibben, were arrested.

This action comes hot on the heels of the largest Summer of Heat action so far: when on June 28th, nearly 1,000 people marched on Citi’s HQ and 64 people were arrested for blockading the doors.

Photo of Summer of Heat protestors holding signs that call for an end to Citi's fossil fuel financing

Just a few days after the June 28th action, we met with Citi management. We met with the bank’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Corporate Banking Head of Corporate Transition, and the Head of Environmental, Social, Risk Management, as well as other members of the sustainability team.

The fact that Citi felt the need to send a large and relatively senior team to the meeting is a sign that our campaign is working.

On our side of the table, we had Roishetta Ozane, the CEO of the Vessel Project of Louisiana; Jeffrey Jacoby, the deputy director of Texas Campaign for the Environment; Kazi Fouzia and Mohiba Ahmed from Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), a large NYC-based South Asian diaspora group; and Climate Defenders organizing director, Marlena Fontes.

Kazi and Mohiba spoke powerfully about the climate impacts already causing devastation in their home countries of Bangladesh and Pakistan. Roishetta spoke about the massive health impacts that LNG and fossil fuel projects are having on her community and other communities in the Gulf South.

After these powerful testimonies, we asked Citi 3 simple questions. Here are the questions we asked and Citi’s answers:

  • Question 1: Will you commit to stop funding new LNG projects or any company engaging in developing new LNG? Citi refused to answer.
  • Question 2: Will you commit to stop funding any company engaged in developing new coal, oil, or gas projects? Citi refused to answer.
  • Question 3: Will Jane Fraser, the CEO, meet with us to hear our concerns? Citi refused to answer.

During the meeting, members of Citi’s team suggested that we are targeting them because they are already a climate leader, citing a Bloomberg opinion piece. We responded that we are targeting them for the following reasons:

  • Since 2021, Citi has provided $60 billion to the companies most aggressively engaging in upstream oil and gas development
  • Last year, Citi provided $4.3 billion to companies developing new LNG projects
  • Last year, Citi’s clean energy to fossil energy ratio was 0.58:1 – lower than even JPMorgan Chase and a million miles from where it needs to be

We also told them that while it is disingenuous and dangerous to claim that Citi is currently a climate leader, we believe that Citi can be a leader.

If Citi were to commit to not financing LNG and fossil fuel expansion and massively increase its clean energy financing over the coming years, it truly would be an important leader in the fight to rein in catastrophic climate change, save countless ecosystems and prevent untold human suffering.

Until then it is complicit in the climate crisis and the lives and ecosystems being lost.

Immediately after the meeting, we reached out to request two follow up meetings: Roishetta and Jeffrey have requested a meeting to talk more about Citi’s LNG financing; we have requested a follow up meeting between Citi and the Summer of Heat campaign.

As campaign organizers who are accountable to a movement of people―including hundreds who have been arrested for the cause―we will continue to report back on how these meetings go to all of you.

You can amplify our report back from our meeting with Citi on social media. It’s on TikTokInstagramTwitter/X.

In Solidarity,
– Alec Connon, Stop the Money Pipeline coalition director

Learn more about the Summer of Heat campaign here.

Check it out

Visit Stop The Money Pipeline’s website.

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Summer of Heat: Campaign Newsletter #2

This is a re-publication of a newsletter email from Stop The Money Pipeline about the Summer of Heat campaign. Learn more about the campaign by visiting its website here.

In the 13 days since the launch of the Summer of Heat, there have been 7 actions and 184 arrests at the headquarters of the world’s largest funder of fossil fuels, Citibank.

This past week was youth and Palestinian solidarity week (which meant that millennials like me got to take a step back and catch our breath). On Tuesday, youth organized a Climate Justice Means Free Palestine rally, which turned into a brief occupation of Citi’s headquarters as young people called out both Citi’s role in the atrocities in Gaza and fossil fuels.

But on Friday, the youth were back, blockading Citi’s HQ with 4 fifteen foot long pipelines that spelled out: Citibank Stop Funding Death.

I don’t know if it was because of the record-breaking heat, or because it was the seventh protest at the headquarters in 10 business days, but whatever the reason, Citi employees were much more irascible than at previous actions.

One middle-aged man in a suit violently pushed a young student. Another kicked a climate defender in the shin. When one climate defender pointed out that hundreds of people have died at the annual hajj pilgrimage due to extreme heat, she was told by a Citi worker to “take a xanax”.

Because, yeah, I suppose taking a numbing painkiller is one way to respond to the fact that corporations like Citibank are pushing our world toward climate breakdown.

A Summer of Heat protestor holding a sign that reads, "Heat wave sponsored by Citibank".

It’s been a full two weeks already, but there’s not a lot of time for rest. Starting today is the Summer of Heat – Gulf South Solidarity Week.

As part of one of the largest build-outs of new fossil fuel projects happening anywhere in the world, dozens of new LNG, oil export, and petrochemical projects are slated to be built along the coastlines of Texas and Louisiana. And so, this week, we’re honored to welcome 170+ community organizers and frontline leaders from the Gulf South to New York.

All week, we’ll be organizing actions (there are at least five that I know of), before the week culminates on Friday in the largest Summer of Heat action so far: the Gulf South Rising, Fossil Banks Sinking March and Mass Civil Disobedience.

The goal on Friday is to have 1,000+ people march from Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street was launched in 2011, to the headquarters of Citibank, where more than 100 people will engage in nonviolent civil disobedience to demand an end to fossil fuels. If you’re in New York, I hope you’ll join us―because we need you.

I’m not going to lie. This is tiring. Organizing action after action; working 12, 13, 14 hours a day; it takes a toll. I’ve been arrested three times in the past two weeks; twice at actions when I wasn’t anticipating it. On Friday, I was arrested, without warning, as I tried to calm down an irate security guard. As the heat rises in New York, the temperature at our protests is growing, too.

But, tiring as it may be, as the deadly heat currently scorching the world―from the US and Mexico to the Middle East; from Greece to Egypt― reminds us: the fight to end fossil fuels could not be more important.

And so even if we are tired, the stakes make it easy to keep going. So does the community and the courage and the beauty that is spilling out of this campaign, and the fact that we’re already starting to inspire other actions around the country and the world.

And so on this Sunday, I’m already looking forward to the week ahead.

In Solidarity
– Alec, Stop the Money Pipeline coalition co-director

PS: If you’re wondering what you can do, one of the key things we’re asking people to do right now (besides show up) is to make a donation. If you’re in a position to make a donation, it’s greatly appreciated.

Learn more about the Summer of Heat campaign here.

Check it out

Visit Stop The Money Pipeline’s website.

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Citi banking on a fossil gas shipwreck

SAN FRANCISCO (Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone Lands) –– On the fifth anniversary of Citi’s co-founding of the Poseidon Principles for decarbonizing shipping, new analysis from Stand.earth reveals that Citi has facilitated nearly $741 billion USD for maritime LNG projects and companies in the last five years. The Poseidon Principles are a first-of-its-kind framework for financial institutions, purported to mobilize capital to decarbonize international maritime shipping.

Explore the full analysis here.

“Citi has touted itself as a bank at the helm of climate-responsible maritime finance. Instead, it’s been bunking up with fossil fuel interests and maritime laggards to the tune of billions of dollars for fossil gas vessels, infrastructure, and companies,” said Kendra Ulrich, Transportation Campaign Director for Stand.earth. “Citi must immediately end its support for fossil gas shipping, and put its considerable maritime finance experience in the service of ushering in a climate-safe future for our fragile blue planet.”

International shipping is one of the most polluting industrial sectors on the planet, with greenhouse gas emissions totaling more than that of Germany, the world’s sixth most emitting country.

LNG (liquefied fossil gas) is primarily methane, a greenhouse gas over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide on a 20-year timeframe. Methane is 28 times more potent of a greenhouse gas on a 100-year timeframe, and the second leading cause of climate change. Studies have shown that the use of LNG as a marine fuel worsens the climate impact of shipping by 70 to 82% or more compared to business as usual.

While the Poseidon Principles do not explicitly address maritime LNG projects, the stated objective of the Principles is to align banks’ ship finance portfolios with climate targets.

Citi has also endorsed multiple other climate finance initiatives that should preclude its participation in financing for maritime LNG projects and companies, including the Climate Bond Initiative which explicitly excludes LNG ship finance.

“Amid a tsunami of nonviolent civil disobedience at Citi’s doors this summer over its fossil fuel funding, we’re rising up and refusing to wait any longer for Citi to live up to its empty climate promises,” said Hannah Saggau, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner with Stand.earth. “Citi is the largest funder of fossil fuel expansion, including LNG expansion, in the world since the Paris Agreement was signed. This analysis is further proof that Citi is a chronic greenwasher that prefers to accumulate endorsements rather than take real action to stop funneling capital to the fossil fuel industry.”

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The methodology for the findings in the report can be seen here.

Press Contact:

Emily Pomilio, Stand.earth, [email protected]

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Summer of Heat: Campaign Newsletter #1

This is a re-publication of a newsletter email from Stop The Money Pipeline about the Summer of Heat campaign. Learn more about the campaign by visiting its website here.

This week we launched the Summer of Heat campaign ― and this is the first of our Summer of Heat campaign newsletters that we’ll send out over the next few months.

It’s been quite the first week here in New York. We organized civil disobedience actions at Citibank’s global headquarters four days in a row: On Monday we blockaded every entrance with 150+ people. On Tuesday, we did it with a giant pod of orcas. On Wednesday, it was the turn of the scientists, including Dr. Sandra Steingraber and Dr. Peter Kalmus. And on Thursday we blockaded the headquarters with 200+ elders and 50+ rocking chairs.

On Friday, we held a block party in the plaza outside the HQ and in the midst of it all, we also found the time to disrupt a speech by Citibank’s Head of Wealth Management, Andy Seig. In total, 144 people were arrested this week, demanding an end to the financing of fossil fuels.

In some ways, it’s been a grueling week. I was in jail twice. My voice is hoarse; my throat strained from chanting at actions all week long. If my voice already sounds this gravely after just one week, I worry about what it will sound like at the end of the summer. As much as it has been a taxing week however, it has also been inspiring.

The stakes of the climate fight cannot be overestimated. Already, at less than 1.5°C of warming, half of the world’s coral reefs have collapsed and millions of children are being displaced by climate-driven extreme weather events every yearIf we don’t stop burning fossil fuels in the coming years, it will get so much worse.

Given these stakes, it feels good to be a part of a campaign that at least feels close to being commensurate with the scale of the crisis.

I take heart, too, in knowing that history shows how effective sustained campaigns of civil disobedience can be. Indeed, many of most significant advances in social justice of the past 150 years ― from women’s suffrage to desegregation to the many gains won by organized labor ― owe less to subtle, “respectable” maneuvering than to the disruptive campaigns and groups that first made the issues impossible to ignore, and then forced decision-makers to act.

I believe that will be true of the fight to end fossil fuels, too―and that civil disobedience will play a key role in turning Wall Street against the fossil fuel industry.

As we take a breath and prepare for another week of civil disobedience actions, there are several ways that you can support the Summer of Heat campaign, wherever you are.

You can take a few minutes to call Citi’s CEOemail a dozen of their top executives, or call them out on social media. If you have the means to do so, you can also make a donation to the Summer of Heat campaign here. We’ll put every cent to good use.

And, of course, if you’re really eager to jump in, you can also look up where the closest Citi branch is to you and plan an action; or you could even start to plan your trip to New York. June 28th would be a very good day to be in town…

In Solidarity
– Alec Connon, Stop the Money Pipeline coalition co-director

PS: Interested in checking out the media from the first week of Summer of Heat? The pick of the bunch is here: Newsweek, the HillSalonDemocracy Now – WednesdayDemocracy Now – ThursdayBloombergABC7AM NYNPRCommon Dreams, and the NY Post

Learn more about the Summer of Heat campaign here.

Check it out

Visit Stop The Money Pipeline’s website.

Check it out
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Citi: A $200bn problem for solving climate change

— Citi employees are confidentially speaking to FossilFreeCiti on Citi’s funding of fossil fuels. Join your colleagues now by emailing [email protected]. — 


New data shows that Citi is the biggest global funder of companies
expanding oil, gas, and coal of any bank in the world. Citi has poured over $200 billion into fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement to limit planetary warming was signed in 2015 according to the latest annual report Banking on Climate Chaos by Rainforest Action Network and a coalition of NGOs. 

Did Citi miss the memo that the world doesn’t need new fossil fuel projects? Or that major fossil fuel companies are actively avoiding being part of the transition?

 

Pollution and rights

“We came from so far to tell Citi not to finance Petroperú” – Olivia Bisa, president of the autonomous territorial government of the Chapra Nation in Peru

Citi is behind some of the most egregious recent developments of fossil fuels. Here is just a taster of some:

  • In Indonesia, Citi funds Adaro which is building an aluminium smelter plant in a conservation and migration area for endangered species such as the green turtles, hawksbill turtles and killer whales. 
  • Citi is also turning a blind eye to violations of Indigenous rights – from the US, to the Amazon and Australia. In Peru it backs Petroperú which is involved in hundreds of oil spills and  threats to Indigenous leaders which oppose them. Olivia Bisa, president of the autonomous territorial government of the Chapra Nation in Peru, travelled to New York recently and met Citi to tell the bank its funding was threatening her life and her family’s: “We came from so far to tell Citi not to finance Petroperú, because they are impacting us, not only polluting our territories, but also they are causing fights and that we can have conflicts among us, among Indigenous nations, because Petroperú is using divisive tactics in the communities. Since 2022, where I denounced an oil spill in my territory, I have been criminalized. I’ve been threatened. I have received six lawsuits against me from Petroperú.”

 

Investor ire

Concern over Indigenous rights has seen one in four Citi shareholders support a shareholder resolution by investor nuns for three years. The message from investors is clear: “human rights violations are bad for business”.

 

Foul funder

A look at which companies Citi has been funding paints a stark picture of what this bank really cares about. Citi pumped $15 billion into ExxonMobil, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, which knew about climate change for decades but actively lobbied to stop action on it. Citi also funds Saudi Aramco – receiving over $6 billion since 2016. Because of this funding, Citi was named in a UN complaint last year over human rights abuses linked to climate change.

 

Transition plans

Citi knows it’s got a problem with its clients and its fossil fuel funding. Its own report released recently shows that 71% of its clients do have adequate transition plans. Yet there has been no policy announcement to drop clients which won’t transition away from oil, gas, and coal and no commitment that it will no longer back fossil fuel expansion. 

We have so much evidence that Citi is a dirty bank, the question is does it care enough about its investors, customers, staff and the planet to change direction?

Citi employees are confidentially speaking to FossilFreeCiti on Citi’s funding of fossil fuels.

Join your colleagues now by emailing [email protected].

Send your email
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Stand.earth on the 15th annual Banking on Climate Chaos Report

GLOBAL – As communities experience year-round fires, floods, smoke, and deadly heat, the 15th annual Banking on Climate Chaos report revealed today that banks around the world are continuing to finance fossil fuels at dangerous levels, surpassing $6.9 trillion since 2016.

Nearly half – $3.3 trillion – went towards fossil fuel expansion, at a time when science and justice demand a swift and rapid fossil fuel phase-out. The worst funder of fossil fuel expansion since the Paris Agreement is Citigroup, providing $204 billion since 2016. In 2023, Citi ranked 7th for expansion financing, with more than $14.6 billion worth of fossil fuel expansion deals.

The big five Canadian banks did an outsized proportion of the total fossil fuel financing for the period of 2016-2023 at US $911.15 billion or 13% of all deals, including 45% of all tar sands deals last yearThree banks made the 2023 Dirty Dozen – RBC (#7)Scotiabank (#10), and TD Bank (#11) – and all five are in the top 16 spots globally.

With an updated methodology in place, RBC remains Canada’s #1 fossil bank, #7 globally, #4 for financing fossil fuel expansion in 2023Scotiabank is #6 globally for financing expansion of fossil fuels in 2023. This report comes following an Indigenous- and frontline-led takeover of RBC’s annual shareholder meeting.

In AmazoniaCitibank, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are top financiers of oil and gas at $4.97 billion between 2016-2023. Since 2016, the top 60 banks have financed $11.15 billion in Amazonia extraction. Amidst an imminent tipping point as Amazonia faces the worst drought in history, three American banks are quickly followed by European Santander.

With research contributed by Stand.earth Research Group, the report reveals that Citibank has financed over $1.98 billion since 2016. Despite Citibank’s commitment to Indigenous Peoples in its  Statement on Human Rights, just last year the bank took part in a $500 million bond deal for Hunt Oil Peru – one of the companies behind the notorious Camisea Gas Project. In 2013, the UN called for an immediate suspension of Camisea as it threatens the survival of several uncontacted and isolated tribes in the territory.

On the 15th annual Banking on Climate Chaos report, Stand.earth leaders offered the following statements:

On Canadian banks as fossil fuel lenders of last resort, Richard Brooks, Stand.earth Climate Finance Director, said:

“We have the solutions, yet Canada’s big banks are still lighting the fuses of carbon bombs, pouring billions into fossil fuel financing during the hottest year on record. In Canada, the Big Five are all top 16 global fossil fuel financing banks. Canadian banks are positioned as lenders of last resort, holding dangerously outsized fossil fuel financing, which should sicken and worry us all. Canada’s largest bank RBC – under CEO Dave McKay – is proving unwilling to lead. It’s time for our government and regulators to step in and mandate Canadian banks help rather than hinder our climate goals.”

On banks’ financing extraction from Amazonia, Martyna Dominiak, Stand.earth Senior Climate Finance Campaigner, said:

“The Amazon is heading for collapse while banks like Citi are counting profits, propping up some of the most corrupt companies behind the brutal oil expansion in the largest rainforest driving all of us to a tipping point. But it doesn’t need to be like that. HSBC and some other banks already started their exit from Amazon oil and gas. It’s time for Citi, Bank of America and Santander to follow suit for the sake of Indigenous Peoples, Earth, and humanity.”

On Citibank as the world’s second largest fossil fuel financing bank since 2016, Hannah Saggau, Stand.earth, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner, said:

“While our communities experience devastating climate chaos like fires, floods, hurricanes, and deadly heat, Citi is perpetuating environmental racism with its $396.33 billion in fossil fuel financing since 2016. The same banks profiting off climate chaos are also profiting off weapons and war. Citi claims to be a climate leader, but should rather be named a climate criminal as the second largest fossil fuel financier in the world.”

Highlights:

(↑ indicates financing increased for this sector from 2022 to 2023, ↓ a decrease)

↓ Amazon oil and gas: In this report, Bank Of America leads financing for 24 companies extracting in the Amazon biome at $162 million — $33 million more than the next bank in the ranking, JP Morgan Chase. Financing totaled $632 million in 2023, dropping from $802 million in the year prior.

 Tar sands oil: The top 36 tar sands companies received $4.4 billion in financing in 2023, a $4 billion drop from the previous year. Canadian banks provided 45% of those funds. Top funders are CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, Toronto-Dominion Bank, and Mizuho. 

↑ Methane Gas (LNG): The top bankers of 130 companies expanding liquefied methane gas (LNG) in 2023 were MizuhoMUFG, Santander, RBC, and JPMorgan Chase. Overall finance for liquefied methane increased to $120 billion in 2023.

↑ Coal mining: Of the $42.5 billion in financing that went to 211 coal mining companies in 2023, 81% was provided by banks located in China, led by China CITIC Bank, China Merchant Bank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and China Everbright Group. Financing for this sector is up slightly compared to 2022.

↑ Metallurgical coal: The 48 companies active in metallurgical coal mining received commitments of $2.54 billion in financing in 2023. Top banks include CITICChina Everbright GroupBank of America, and Ping An Insurance Group. Financing for this sector is up slightly compared to 2022.

↓ Coal-fired power: Of the financing to the coal power companies listed on the Global Coal Exit List, 65% of financing was provided by banks located in China. In 2023, these companies received $80 billion from the banks in this report. Financing for this sector is down slightly compared to 2022.

↓ Gas-fired power: Banks committed $108 billion in financing to 252 companies expanding gas-fired power in 2023. The top 3 financiers in this sector are MizuhoICBC, and MUFG. Financing for this sector is down compared to 2022.

↓ Expansion: The 60 banks profiled in this report funneled $347 billion in 2023 into 874 companies expanding fossil fuels including Enbridge, Vitol, TC Energy, and Venture Global. In 2022, $385 billion went towards expansion. Financing for these expansion companies is down compared to 2022.

↓ Fracked oil and gas: Finance for 236 fracking companies totaled $59 billion dollars in 2023. U.S. Banks dominate this sector, with the top funders being JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley. 

↓ Ultra Deepwater oil and gas: Japanese banks MizuhoMUFG, and SMBC Group top the list of worst financiers of 66 companies involved in ultra deepwater oil and gas for 2023. Financing totaled $3.7 billion in 2023, down from 2022.

↓ Arctic oil and gas: Financing for 45 companies involved in Arctic oil and gas dropped from $3.3 billion to $2.4 billion. The worst banks financiers of this sector in 2023 are UniCredit, Citigroup, Intesa Sanpaolo,  Barclays, and Credit Agricole.

Sector reporting in BOCC 24 is aligned with the Global Oil & Gas Exit List (GOGEL) and the Global Coal Exit List (GCEL), researched by Urgewald. All companies listed by the GOGEL or GCEL that show bank financing in each sector are reported. All companies identified on the GOGEL or GCEL as expansion companies are reported in the expansion league table. Amazon biome companies were identified by Stand.earth Research Group. Metallurgical coal companies were identified through a collaboration between BankTrack and Reclaim Finance.

 

Press Contacts:

Lindsay Meiman, Stand.earth Climate Finance Media Director, [email protected]

Lays Ushirobira, Stand.earth Amazonia Communications Manager, [email protected]

Shawna Ambrose, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), [email protected] (Global report inquiries)

 

SPOKESPEOPLE ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW. 

All currencies are noted in USD unless otherwise indicated.

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Investors’ Support Remains Strong On Indigenous Rights Resolution at Citi, undisclosed at Wells Fargo

April 30, 2024

NEW YORK CITY – Today, 26% of Citi’s shareholders voted for a resolution on Indigenous rights filed by an order of New Jersey nuns, while the results of a similar resolution at Wells Fargo were not disclosed.

Questions about the banks’ climate, sustainability, and Indigenous Rights records dominated Citi’s meeting, and Wells Fargo faced similar questions. Shareholders asked about Citi’s support for LNG including marine gas, Amazon oil and gas, emissions from agriculture, and its recent move to quit the Equator Principles, a set of bare minimum social and environmental standards.

Citi refused to answer questions on the Indigenous resolution, despite stating there were several questions tabled by shareholders. CEO Jane Fraser gave scripted answers to questions and even stated the presenter of the Indigenous rights resolution, Tribal Chair Juan Mancias, referred to the Amazon rainforest, which he did not. When asked to meet with Mancias, Fraser refused.

The vote at Citi means the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace can refile the resolution next year, which has become a source of embarrassment for the bank and has seen Citi hastily release a report in recent weeks in an attempt to blunt investor support.

The last two years, the Citi resolution has attracted over 30% investor support. The Wells Fargo resolution was not filed last year because of a technical issue but attracted 26% support in 2022.

The resolutions come in the wake of new information filed at the SEC about the risks related to the banks’ financing deals and stark opposition by Indigenous communities. 

The resolutions cite Citi’s and Wells Fargo’s funding for Enbridge, which has built controversial pipelines such as the Dakota Access Pipeline and Lines 3 and 5. Citi is also being criticized as one of the biggest funders of oil and gas in the Amazon rainforest, where it funds Petroperú, PetroAmazonas and Frontera Energy, companies linked to oil spills and Indigenous rights violations.

The Citi resolution was presented by Juan Mancias, tribal chairman of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of South Texas, which is opposing Enbridge’s plans to build the Rio Bravo pipeline. The pipeline is meant to feed into the Rio Grande LNG facility but has been delayed for years due to litigation, reiterating the financial risks involved in the project. Banks BNP and Société Générale have already withdrawn support for the project.

The Wells Fargo resolution was presented by Tara Houska, tribal attorney and founder of the Giniw Collective, which opposed Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota. The project was embroiled in controversy given the legacy of the existing pipeline in the area which caused the biggest inland oil spill in the US and the financing of extensive law enforcement intervention by Enbridge. 

The AGMs were preceded by a week of protests across the world calling on Citi and Wells Fargo to step up their climate action and address its record of environmental racism and Indigenous Rights violations (click here for photos). Hundreds of Citi employees were prevented from entering the bank’s headquarters in the morning two days in a row. Today, parents and children gathered outside Citi headquarters in New York demanding the bank meet its climate commitments.

Last week, communities affected by polluting projects that Citi funds hosted a hearing in New York City titled The People vs. Citi: Confronting Citi Group’s Environmental Racism, calling on the bank to end its fossil fuel financing and invest in communities. This first-of-its kind hearing on Citi’s environmental racism was chaired by Roishetta Ozane, a Black leader and environmental activist from Sulphur, Louisiana, and founder of the Vessel Project along with environmental leaders from the Amazon, the Gulf South, and other communities. Petrochemical facilities and oil and gas refineries funded by Citigroup have polluted the air, land, and water in Roishetta’s community. 

Quotes

Sister Susan Francois of Sisters of St Joseph of Peace said:

“For three years in a row support from investors for our resolution has remained steady at Citi. This is a clear message to the bank that human rights violations are bad for business. Today’s vote allows us to resubmit the resolution and the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace will continue to voice concerns over present and future generations impacted by oil, gas and coal projects. We are guided by Pope Francis who has set out clearly the Church’s role in addressing projects in communities which result in a decline in their quality of life, the clearing of their land and the robbing of joy and hope for the future. We urge Citi to heed this call too.”

Juan Mancias tribal chairman of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, who presented the Indigenous rights resolution at Citi said:

“Citi has provided Enbridge with over $5 billion in financing enabling the Rio Bravo pipeline which Enbridge is trying to build on Carrizo Comecrudo land. Citi clients like Enbridge will destroy acres of wetlands and the habitats of threatened and endangered plant and animal species. These projects affect us as a tribe. Société Générale and BNP Paribas have withdrawn funding from the Rio Bravo project because they see this risk in financing indigenous rights violations. We urge the city to stop investing in companies that steal Indigenous land and exploit our environment.”

Tara Houska tribal attorney and founder of Giniw Collective said: 

“Human beings are now in the era of ‘climate boiling’. Globally, Indigenous peoples are defending what remains of earth’s biodiversity and drinkable water with our bodies, our freedom, sometimes our lives. We have cost Wells Fargo clients billions in lost profits. Clients like Enbridge, mired in lawsuits, environmental degradation, and reputational disaster. We are not going to stop — we are standing up for our children, for all children. Wells Fargo can make history. A first step would be telling its shareholders the truth of violations of human rights by its clients.”

Hannah Saggau, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner at Stand.earth said:

“Citi’s shareholders continue to send a clear message that the bank needs to do more on climate action and justice for frontline and Indigenous communities. Given the level of support for the Indigenous Peoples rights’ resolution, we expect Citi to step up and end financing for projects harming Indigenous communities at home and abroad.” 

Mary Mijares Fossil Finance Campaigner at Amazon Watch said:

“Indigenous peoples face continuous threats for standing against the destruction of their ancestral lands in the Amazon rainforest, yet Citi supports companies like Petroperú, known for severe oil contamination and undermining rights. A substantial number of Citi investors see this as a material risk and have requested the bank to disclose more information about it. When will Citi commit to more robust and effective Indigenous rights safeguards that truly respect free, prior, and informed consent, and prohibit financing for controversial clients such as Petroperú?”

Press Contacts:

Judith Crosbie, Sunrise Project, [email protected]

Emily Pomilio, Stand.earth, [email protected]

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Black and Indigenous Environmental Leaders Slam Citigroup for  Funding Fossil Fuels and Driving Environmental Racism

April 22, 2024

NEW YORK CITY – On Monday, April 22, 2024, environmental leaders from communities on the frontlines of climate change convened the first-of-its kind Earth Day hearing on Citigroup’s environmental racism. Actor and activist Jane Fonda kicked off the hearing and introduced the hearing chair, Roishetta Ozane, a Black leader and environmental activist from Sulphur, Louisiana, and founder of the Vessel Project. The hearing culminated in a set of demands on Citigroup aimed at fixing the harms the bank has caused to impacted communities, including immediately ending funding for fossil fuels, publicly acknowledging harm the bank has caused communities of color, respect Indigenous rights, and investing in a just transition to sustainable energy

Photos and videos of the hearing can be found here. Members of the media have full permission to all photos and videos. 

As the world’s second-largest funder of coal, oil, and gas, Citi has poured over $332 billion into climate-ravaging fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2016 – making billionaires even richer while everyday people are choking on wildfire smoke, losing their homes to floods, and trying to survive sweltering heat waves. 

Speakers at the hearing included Sharon Lavigne, of RISE St. James, among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2024; Olivia Bisa, President of the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Chapra nationality, who has faced death threats for her opposition to fossil fuel projects in Peru; and Sister Susan Francois of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace in New Jersey which for three years has filed a shareholder resolution at Citi on Indigenous rights and fossil fuel funding. 

The hearing took place at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery and was organized by Climate Defenders, New York Communities for Change, STAND.earth, Stop the Money Pipeline, and Texas Campaign for the Environment. Panel topics included the health impacts of fossil fuel build-out on the Gulf South, defending indigenous peoples’ rights, and solutions to climate change. 

Black and Indigenous environmental activists are building a movement to stop big banks from destroying the planet and say that this hearing was just the beginning of a wave of actions.

Olivia Bisa, President of the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Chapra Nation in Perú said, “Citi talks about respecting the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities as set down by the UN, but it has clients like Petroperú which refuse to recognize the right to say no of seven Indigenous nations in the Peruvian Amazon. Petroperu’s disregard for Indigenous rights should mean something to the banks that lend them money; but in reality their mutual business continues. If they are serious about Indigenous rights, Citi must hold its clients accountable to ensure that their due diligence adheres to international standards of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.” 

Roishetta Ozane, founder of the Vessel Project of Louisiana, said, “The petrochemical facilities Citigroup funds are not bringing economic development in our communities. They’re polluting the air and water and making us sick, including  my own children, three of whom suffer from asthma and one from eczema. Citigroup is hurting our communities, and it’s especially hurting Black community in the Gulf South. We want Citigroup to stop funding fossil fuels and to stop hurting our communities and our families.”

“I want Citigroup’s CEO Jane Fraser to look me in the eye and tell me who is supposed to take care of our community members who are sick from pollution — because we have a lot of illness from pollution in our community. And who is going to bury them.” said Manning Rollerson, founder of the Freeport Haven Project for Environmental Justice. “Who is going to pay for the ongoing harm to our community? First, Black residents of Freeport were ordered that we could only live in the East End, then we were denied services for years while paying taxes, and now our whole community has been displaced so that Port Freeport can build warehouses and parking lots to continue shipping petrochemicals.”

Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE St. James, named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2024, said, “Where I live in St. James Parish is part of the notorious Cancer Alley – an 85-mile stretch in the Gulf South with high pollution and high rates of asthma and cancer. We have a funeral at least every week, sometimes two or three times a week. The cause is pollution from the 12 petrochemical plants and oil refineries within a 10-mile radius of St. James Parish. Citigroup could be part of the solution, but right now they are part of the problem since Citigroup has invested hundreds of millions into Formosa Plastics, which wants to open another plant in our Parish. That would be a death sentence for us.”

Sister Susan Francois, of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, said, “I am supporting the hearing to show the true interest of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace in present and future generations impacted by the oil, gas and coal projects. Pope Francis has set out clearly the Church’s role in addressing projects in communities which result in a decline in their quality of life, the clearing of their land and the robbing of joy and hope for the future. Because of this, today’s hearing is of critical importance. For three years in a row, we have filed shareholder proposals with Citi asking for a report on the effectiveness of their policies to respect Indigenous rights. More than 30% of investors support this request because they know human rights violations are bad for business.”

Russell Armstrong, Senior Director, Campaigns & Advocacy for the Hip Hop Caucus, said, “I am participating in this hearing because financial institutions must prioritize climate justice and racial justice in all of their business decisions today for the possibility of a healthier and safer tomorrow. Repairing our communities will require the financial industry to agree that financing the fossil fuel industry is more than an ineligible use of funds, but is also harmful. Hip Hop Caucus is committed to strengthening the power of frontline communities of color.”

Armstrong continued, “In Citi’s Corporate Social Responsibility statements they say they “feel responsible for the community in which it operates” and we couldn’t agree more. That is why we are calling on Citibank to come meet with the frontline communities in the Gulf South and bear witness to how the additional billions in financing for fossil fuels since the 2016 Paris Agreements is not helping “build more sustainable, diverse and equitable communities” that they proudly stay they are “playing a leading role to drive the banking industry into a more sustainable future.

“We charge Citi with environmental racism: the bank’s record of harming communities of color has gone on too long,” Hannah Saggau, Fossil Free Citi Campaign Organizer at Stand.earth said. “We demand that Citi stop financing fossil fuel companies and start investing in frontline communities’ health and a climate-safe future.” 

Gabriel Alexandre, student at Leaders High School in Brooklyn, said, “Every year, during winter break, it seems as if my sister says the same, disappointing words to me: “How come there’s no snow this year? I miss making snow angels and having snowball fights!” And every year, we have to explain the same thing to her: The earth is getting warmer. This is why we’re demanding that Citigroup halt all investments into new oil and gas projects and instead invest money into green energy alternatives.”

Naomi Yoder,  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Data Manager at the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University, said, “The evidence is clear: fossil fuels extraction and petrochemical production in the United States is an environmental injustice. We have the opportunity to change course, and we the people ask the banks and the corporations and the insurers to join us in enacting anti-racist, anti-oppressive policies, now.”

Below is a full list of demands that came out of the hearing. 

To begin addressing the harm caused by the $332 billion in financing for fossil fuels that Citi has provided since the Paris Agreement in 2016, Citi must commit to dramatically increasing financing of climate solutions and a just transition for and led by communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. This commitment must be overseen by an advisory committee made up of majority Black, Indigenous, low-income, and Global South climate leaders.

Citi executive leadership will publicly acknowledge and apologize for the harm they have inflicted by financing the fossil fuel industry, including the human and ecological mass deaths as a result of the climate crisis. The Executive leadership will meet with community leaders on the frontlines of the climate crisis. They will travel to regions that have been harmed to understand firsthand how the projects and companies that Citi finances have affected everyday people.

  1. Immediately stop financing new and expanding coal, oil, and gas projects and any companies expanding fossil fuels.
  2. Rapidly phase out all fossil fuel financing and demonstrate year-on-year reductions in fossil financing in line with minimizing climate harms and limiting global warming to well below 1.5°C.
  3. Ensure that clients fully respect all rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as articulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  4. End financing for any projects or companies that demonstrate a pattern of violating human rights and self-determination, especially for Indigenous, Black, low-income and communities of color.
  5. Adopt or strengthen sectoral and regional exclusion policies, including for coal, LNG, Arctic, Gulf South and offshore/ultra-deep drilling.
  6. Scale up investments in renewables and proven climate energy solutions in line with a just transition and the needs outlined by the International Energy Agency, beyond the inadequate goals currently set by the bank.

Press Contacts:

Jonathan Westin, Climate Defenders, 917 637 9501

Emily Pomilio, Stand.earth, [email protected]

Alicé Nascimento, New York Communities for Change, [email protected]

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Demand Citi Stop Fueling the Climate Crisis

Sponsored by: The Fossil Free Citi Coalition

Add Your Name: Citi must stop fueling the climate crisis

Citi’s support for new fossil fuel projects jeopardizes our communities’ health, human rights, and future generations. As we experience the very real effects of the climate crisis, the cost of inaction is too high.

Together, let’s demand Citi stop funding fossil fuels for the sake of our communities — and our planet.

A major catalyst for the climate crisis is the funding of the fossil fuel industry by big banks. Banks invest billions of dollars into coal, oil, and gas corporations that create dirty energy, instead of massively expanding the renewables we need for safe, healthy communities.

Enter Citibank: a major climate offender. Citi is the second largest fossil fuel funder in the world, pouring $332 billion into the industry since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2016. Citi has provided funding to companies like Exxon, Shell, Chevron, and Enbridge, who are building polluting new tar sands pipelines, oil rigs, and methane gas terminals, despite powerful resistance from frontline communities defending their right to a clean, healthy environment. 

Citi must stop financing new fossil fuel projects and the companies behind dangerous coal, oil, and gas expansion. Citi must also refuse to finance any companies that are violating human rights, especially the rights of impacted Indigenous communities.

Sign our petition to fight for your community’s health and safety by demanding that Citi stop funding fossil fuels.

Add your name using the form on this page or on Action Network.

Add Your Name: Citi must stop fueling the climate crisis

Take Action Now!

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