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].

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Costco Petition Delivery Success: CEO responds!

This is a re-publication of a blog from Third Act. Read the original blog here.

Last week on a cold, rainy morning in Issaquah, WA, the day before Costco’s annual virtual shareholder meeting, a dedicated group of Third Actors, Stop the Money Pipeline supporters, Costco members and shareholders, and local activists delivered 40,000 petition signatures to Costco’s new CEO, Mr. Ron Vachris, calling on Costco to cut ties with Citibank if Citi won’t clean up its portfolio and stop funding the expansion of fossil fuels. We delivered the petitions with a “Congrats, Ron!” welcome party to highlight his new role at the helm of the 3rd largest retailer in the US and the power he can leverage as a big client of Citibank’s. And, during the Costco shareholder meeting, he responded! Here is a round-up of our campaign activities, what Mr. Vachris said, and what’s next.

Making the Campaign Visible to Costco

As part of coalition efforts to escalate pressure on Wall Street banks to stop funding dirty fossil fuels, we are working to leverage the power of big bank clients like Costco to influence their banking partners on climate. Third Act and Third Act Working Groups, Stop the Money Pipeline,, Climate Organizing Hub, the Sunrise Project, New York Communities for Change, Hip Hop Caucus, and several other partners together launched the “Costco: Clean Up Your Credit Card” campaign in September 2023 and gathered petition signatures in-person and online throughout the Fall (if you haven’t signed it, you still can!).

Our tone has been consistently friendly and encouraging towards Costco, as our primary request is that Costco push Citibank to stop funding dirty fossil fuels. We have written to Costco’s executive leadership multiple times requesting a meeting and offering to be a resource to assist Costco in addressing the company’s emissions associated with its banking relationships. But we did not receive a substantive reply other than “we plan to honor our contract with Citibank.”

To make sure that Mr. Vachris, Costco leadership, and board members heard and saw the growing chorus of voices calling on Costco to “do the right thing,” as its corporate motto proclaims, we planned a series of activities to make this petition delivery visible.

Check out this round-up of our creative and collective efforts on full display over several days and watch the video below:

  • Delivered to Mr. Vachris’ office at headquarters a card and booklet with the 40,000 signatures, including 18,000 Costco members;
  • The “welcome party” at Costco headquarters on January 17, complete with a sheet cake, a giant card congratulating Ron, party hats, Costco members in red aprons, and giant scissors cutting up a Citibank credit card. We  even had a dancing hotdog!! (Costco is famous for its $1.50 hotdogs);
  • Sang a reworked “Celebration” song by Kool and the Gang with lyrics like “Citibank, Good Bye, Farewell!” (watch this video by Alex Garland);
  • A mobile billboard that circled Costco headquarters, an adjacent warehouse, and the Seattle Costco warehouse on January 18, the day of its virtual shareholder meeting, with graphics calling on Costco to drop dirty Citi (see videophotos);
  • Costco shareholders published a blog expressing their concerns and submitted written questions during the shareholder meeting asking what steps Costco is planning to take to address these concerns regarding its relationship with Citi;
  • Costco members delivered the petition memo and card to at least 10 Costco stores in 6 states (and counting!), and engaged in sincere conversations with Costco store managers. Many store managers shared that they are concerned about climate change, they did not know about Citibank’s role in funding the climate crisis, and agreed to share the petition information with their regional managers and leadership;
  • Published updated analysis by Topo Finance estimating Costco’s carbon footprint from its cash deposits – where banks get to use its money to fund oil, gas, and coal – is equivalent to 85.3% of Costco’s total operational carbon emission (all the energy and gas used for its warehouses, deliveries, capital goods, employee travel and commuting, and more). Costco’s carbon cash footprint is equivalent to 10.1 gas-fired power plants operating for one year; and
  • Garnered publicity via an in-depth article by Keerti Gopal at Inside Climate News, coverage by Progressive Grocer (a trade association publication), a media statement, and Bill McKibben’s Substack “Sheet Cake As Ammunition.”

Costco CEO Responds at the Shareholder Meeting

As a result of all this creative campaigning and visibility, and in response to a group of Costco shareholders asking questions about Costco’s relationship with Citi during the virtual annual shareholder meeting, Costco’s new CEO, Ron Vachris, responded:

“Citi is indeed a key partner for Costco Wholesale, and we are aware of those petitions that were signed. We are going to continue moving forward with our climate action plan, and have been in discussions with Citi about their carbon reduction plans in the future. We’re going to focus on our efforts, and we’ll stay close to Citi and their efforts as well.”

We got the CEO of the 3rd largest retailer in the US to publicly acknowledge our campaign and the issue of Citibank’s climate pollution! While this is definitely not enough, this indicates significant progress for our campaign. We are hearing directly from the new CEO for the first time on this issue, Costco leadership has seen and acknowledged this issue, and we now know that Costco is having “discussions” with Citi about their carbon reductions.

Bill McKibben remarked on the CEO’s response: “Costco has taken a good first step: it has acknowledged the concerns there are with Citi as its credit card issuer. The next step should be robust discussions with Citi over the billions it continues to pour into harmful projects and companies that are contributing to climate change. We eagerly await the outcome of these discussions.”

Stop the Money Pipeline is a core leader of the Costco campaign coalition, and Sarah Lasoff  STMP’s Special Projects Manager expressed her excitement about this progress and what’s next. “I am immensely grateful for and proud of all the organizing that has led to this moment. Our campaign and coalition are making progress and it’s because of people just like you. From sending an email to showing up to Costco’s HQ to petitioning at Costco warehouses and farmers markets, all of our collective pressure resulted in Costco CEO’s public response. While his response indicates progress, it is not enough. We are going to need as many folks involved as possible, especially Costco members, shareholders, employees, and board members, to continue our pressure urging Costco to turn acknowledgement into serious action.”

We look forward to hearing directly from Costco’s leadership about their own efforts as part of Costco’s climate action plan, how they will address Costco’s financed emissions associated with their banking relationships, and how Citi is responding.

Citi Are You Listening? Stop Funding Fossil Fuel Expansion!

Anne Shields, a member of Third Act Washington and a Costco shopper, notes, “We are pleased that new Costco CEO Ron Vachris is prepared to listen to 18,000 of Costco’s own members like me and to discuss with Citi about getting serious on climate. But Costco should know that talk isn’t enough, we want to see action. We want Costco to make it clear that they will take their business to another bank if Citi doesn’t get serious on climate. I am doing this for the future of my sons and I won’t be giving up.”

About a year ago, Chris Goelz, a Third Act supporter in Seattle, had just signed Third Act’s Banking on our Future Pledge and realized his Costco credit card was issued by Citibank. So, he reached out to Costco staff that managed the Citi credit card partnership to express his concerns, which were politely deflected and passed on to Citibank. Chris is also a Costco shareholder and says, “Our call remains the same:  Unless Citi significantly curtails its funding of fossil fuel expansion, Costco must find a new credit card partner.”

Our efforts are not stopping with the petition delivery. No way! Already since last Friday, more than 100 people have submitted Letters to the Editor to their local papers (you can too! Use our online tool), and the Press Herald in Maine has already published one. More than 3,600 people wrote to the top four Costco executives asking them to heed the call of petition signers and reevaluate its relationship with Citibank. And there’s even a new song “Hey, Citi–Hey, Costco” by a Third Actor from Texas, Purly Rae Gates , who is a talented musician and songwriter. Purly Rae sings:

“Hey Costco, quit the Citi
For the country, the planet, for the future we will see.
Be a leader, do the right thing
Help us move the world to clean energy.
Clean up the card!
It’s a choice.
Mother Earth has given warning
It’s time to raise your voice.”

We are raising our collective voices! And we continue to urge Costco to raise its voice and call for Citi to stop funding fossil fuels and accelerate its investments in clean energy and climate solutions.

(Watch for the imminent release of Purly Rae Gates’ digital, 6-song EP “Songs for a Fossil Fuel Funeral” on the usual platforms). 

Read the blog on Third Act’s website.

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High seas swindle: Citi slammed for chairing bank group to decarbonize shipping while funding deepwater drillships

The bank chairing the push to decarbonize shipping has pumped millions into controversial deepwater drillships this year.

Citi’s chairing of the Poseidon Principles, which involves reducing the emissions in shipping, is also being questioned as the group’s latest annual report published today shows the bank’s score on meeting targets for reducing financed emissions in shipping has worsened again.

Citi was involved in loans this year to two drillships owned by Transocean, including a $486 million loan for the building of a new ship, the Aquila, and a $525 million loan for upgrades to the Titan. Since 2016, Citi has pumped over $2.5 billion into Transocean, including $407 million in 2019, the year the Poseidon Principles were set up. Citi has also financed another drill ship builder Valaris, pumping in over $600 million since 2016.

Offshore drilling is one of the riskiest types of oil and gas extraction, given the oil spills and damage to marine life it involves. The Aquila ship will be built on the coast of Brazil, threatening sensitive marine ecosystems and coastal communities that rely on fishing—including Quilombola communities, Afro-Brazilian descendents of escaped slave populations. Many communities in Brazil have powerfully resisted ‘petro-dependency’ for years, calling out the oil and gas industry’s contamination of their land, air, and water and violations of their rights to healthy and safe working and living conditions.

Citi’s project financing of drillships and funding for off-shore drilling companies comes as banks and energy companies seek to cash in on high oil prices and drill in more remote settings, including the ocean bed. At the same time banks like Citi say they remain committed to Net Zero targets. 

Stand.Earth criticized Citi’s chairing of the Poseidon Principles while funding destructive drillships as “greenwashing”:

“Citi is acting like a rogue pirate on the high seas: riding the wave of oil and gas profits while plundering the depths of our oceans through funding harmful drillships. Citi chairing the Poseidon Principles to decarbonize shipping while backing dangerous new drillships is one of the most blatant greenwashing moves we’ve seen from the bank to date,” said Hannah Saggau, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner with

The release of the latest annual report by the Poseidon Principles puts further into doubt Citi’s commitment to decarbonizing shipping with its score worsening every year since 2021. Citi’s is 33% over the emissions reduction the International Maritime Organization has said needs to be met.

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Citi involvement in Exxon-Pioneer merger is ‘pure hypocrisy’, say climate groups

Press Contact: Judith Crosbie, [email protected], +1 929 584 3344

Citi is lead financial advisor for Exxon in the $59.5 billion deal which will see Exxon double down on oil production by buying Pioneer Natural Resources, a shale oil production company in the US Permian basin. Exxon is Citi’s biggest fossil fuel client, with the bank pumping in over $15 billion to Exxon since 2016.

At the same time, Citi has verbally committed to net zero by 2050 and even co-founded the global body the Net Zero Banking Alliance. The bank however has faced criticism from investors over a lack of a credible transition plan and the impact of its fossil fuel funding on Indigenous communities. In August it was among 10 banks cited in a United Nations complaint over human rights abuses linked to funding for Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Petrie Partners and Bank of America Securities acted as financial advisors to Pioneer in today’s merger.

Roishetta Ozane, Gulf fossil finance coordinator for the Texas Campaign for the Environment:

“Today we see the true side of Citi as a fossil fuel funder not a climate leader. Citi is a bank that likes to talk about helping communities and solving climate change. But this deal will mean even more oil production where my children and I live and even more health problems for families in the Gulf South. Citi has backed this deal and is yet again funding environmentally racist policies,” she said.

Hannah Saggau, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner:

“This is a massive deal risking more oil production and pollution – and Citi is right in the middle of it. Citibank is failing everyone: its share price has tanked for years, its staff are disillusioned through arbitrary layoffs, and it is still under investigation for compliance. Meanwhile, Citi continues to bankroll fossil fuels while publicly touting climate commitments. Actions speak louder than words, and today we got a megaphone message: Citi is doubling down on fossil fuels at the expense of our health and safety.”

Ben Cushing Campaign Director of the Sierra Club’s Fossil-Free Finance campaign:

“It is pure hypocrisy to say you want to reduce emissions from oil and gas and then act as financial adviser to Exxon to grow its oil and gas business. The left hand is doing one thing while the right is doing the opposite. Citi is clearly not taking its climate targets very seriously,” he said.

Shawna Ambrose, Rainforest Action Network Spokesperson:

“This is why it’s important to follow the money instead of greenwashed pledges. Bank of America talks about climate transition, but today it’s revealed they’re in the thick of one of the biggest oil production in years. Bank of America is profiting off of climate chaos, and must be held accountable for torching the planet as much as Exxon.”

Alice Hu of New York Communities for Change:

“Last month protesters shut down Citi’s headquarters in New York because we are tired of greenwashing from this megabank. Today Citi proved they would rather help Exxon keep profiting off fossil fuels rather than stand with communities in New York and elsewhere suffering from the ravages of climate change. Our message to Citi is that we will escalate our fight in defence of our communities and the planet.”


Press Contact: Judith Crosbie, [email protected], +1 929 584 3344

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CBS News: Climate change protesters block entrance to Citigroup headquarters in Lower Manhattan; 2 dozen arrested

On September 14, 2023, climate protestors blocked access to Citigroup’s headquarters over the bank’s funding of fossil fuels. At least 24 activists were arrested as Citi workers and customers lined up around the building, unable to get inside due to the blockade.

cbs clipping

Read full story here

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Climate groups slam banks over senior PR hirings to deal with bad climate record

11 September, 2023

Climate groups have criticised banks for hiring senior staff to deal with their poor image on climate change – instead of actually dealing with climate change. 

As reported in the Guardian today, Citi, Barclays and Royal Bank of Canada, which are among the biggest funders of the oil, gas and coal sectors, are hiring senior public relations and “engagement” roles while continuing to pump money into new and expanding fossil fuel industries.

The move comes as protesters, angry at financial institutions for bank-rolling the fossil fuel industry, prepare a wave of actions in New York in the coming days as UN Climate Week kicks off, including at Citi, KKR and Blackrock. The 60 biggest banks in the world have pumped $5.5 trillion into the fossil fuel sectors since 2016.

Citi is hiring a Vice President for ESG stakeholder engagement; Barclays is hiring a climate communications director and RBC is hiring a head of climate transition.

Climate groups have called out the banks over greenwashing.

Richard Brooks Climate Finance Director at Stand.Earth said

“Major banks hiring senior staff as spin doctors to green their bad images on climate issues rather than actually tackling their fossil fuel financing is utterly sickening, given the deaths in Hawaii, fires in Canada’s Arctic and extreme heat all over North America. This is tone deaf desperation by Citi, RBC and Barclays. This is part of a trend whereby major banks that fund the oil, gas and coal industries are doubling down on delay and deception, attempting to squash demands of shareholders, customers, and the public alike. Our pressure is only going to escalate, so we would urge them to take real action immediately.”

Joanna Warrington at Fossil Free London said

“In recent years we’ve seen campaigning pressure expand beyond the oil giants like Shell and Equinor, onto banks and the massive funding they provide to companies building new oil and gas projects that would be impossible without it. Barclays is clearly scared. This new PR role is just another way for it to armour itself up. But underneath, the bank is still filled to the brim with oil. The only meaningful climate action Barclays should take is to stop funding fossil fuel expansion, like leaders in Europe, and fund green energy now. No more spin doctors.”

All three banks have battled the public fallout recently over their roles in fuelling the climate crisis.

  • Citi is the second biggest fossil fuel funder in the world since 2016, pumping over $332 billion into the sector. Just two weeks ago Citi was named in a UN human rights complaint over its funding of the world’s biggest oil producer Saudi Aramco. Citi has faced years of backlash by investors over its Indigenous rights record and climate protests. The vice president role Citi is hiring for will be “related to sustainability issues, with a focus on human rights” and will “monitor Citi’s reputation”.
  • In 2022, RBC was the biggest global bank funder of fossil fuels and continues in 2023, to take a greater proportion of the global financing of fossil fuels by banks.. RBC’s new senior position will produce “lasting responses to Climate Activism” and follows pressure at this year’s annual general meeting over its fossil fuel funding. 
  • Barclays, the biggest fossil fuel funder in Europe, has faced pressure over its Wimbledon sponsorship, its connections to the UK’s National Trust and was even forced to deal with the fallout when a British pensioner refused to pay their council tax because of a link to the bank.

Information about each bank’s fossil fuel funding and the league table on banks funding of oil, gas and coal can be found in the Banking on Climate Chaos report.

Press Contact:Judith Crosbie, [email protected], +1 929 584 3344

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The Guardian: Banks pouring trillions to fossil fuel expansion in global south, report finds

Banks are pouring trillions of dollars into the expansion of the world’s most emitting industries in the global south, according to a new report.


Top US banks like Citigroup, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase have offered trillions to Saudi Aramco, Exxon and other fossil fuel companies for fossil fuel activity in developing countries in regions such as South America and Africa.

Read the article in The Guardian here.

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Financial Times: UN warns banks that fund Saudi Aramco about possible human rights breach

The Financial Times wrote about the UN’s warning to major banks including Citi that their financing of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest corporate emitter, may be in violation of human rights standards due to the oil giant’s role in driving catastrophic climate change.

Read the full article on the Financial Times’s website.

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Bloomberg: JPMorgan, Citi Listed as Top Oil and Gas Banks in the Amazon

An article from Bloomberg covers’s research revealing Citi as one of the largest global financial backers of oil and gas extraction that has devastated the Amazon rainforest over the past 15 years.


The Amazon rainforest is nearing catastrophic climate and deforestation tipping points, and banks like Citi have a critical role to stop funding this destruction.

Read full article in Bloomberg’s website.

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Our children are too precious for us to give up and go home

Roishetta Ozane writes about a delegation of folks from Louisiana and Texas travelling to New York to confront Citi, one of the biggest banks backing the polluting plants in the Gulf, ahead of its annual meeting of shareholders. She writes, “We are determined to achieve a future where our children don’t have to battle these plants like we do.”

Read full story here

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