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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Investor nuns reject Citi Indigenous report as ‘wholly unresponsive’ in SEC filing

April 10, 2024

Investor nuns from New Jersey are warning Citi shareholders in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that a new report by the bank on Indigenous issues does not meet the demands of their resolution which is due to go before shareholders in a vote.

Citi refused to agree to the nuns’ demands for a disclosure on the effectiveness of its Indigenous rights policies in relation to its funding of projects and companies. Instead the bank published a report, without consulting Indigenous communities, that is “wholly unresponsive” and reveals that “Citi continues to finance clients and projects with track records of egregious violations of Indigenous rights and expose the company to significant risk”, the nuns’ exempt solicitation to the SEC states.

The public row between the global bank and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace is a warning to other US banks, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs, which also face Indigenous rights and environmental justice resolutions at this year’s annual shareholders meetings. In contrast, Indigenous investors at Royal Bank of Canada withdrew a resolution at the bank following an agreement on progress.

Three years on, Citi is scrambling to blunt investor support for the nuns’ resolution which in 2022 and 2023 attracted over 30% of shareholder vote and has become a source of embarrassment for the bank.

The Citi report on Indigenous issues admits that despite flagging 16 clients over risks to Indigenous rights, none have been refused funding or services by the bank. Out of the 37 projects which the bank identified as posing a risk to Indigenous rights, Citi refused funding for just seven.

Indigenous groups have also rejected Citi’s Indigenous report. An alliance of seven Indigenous nations from the Peruvian Amazon, impacted by oil spills and rights violations by Citi client Petroperú, have denounced Citi’s report saying they have “serious concerns” about it. Citi has refused to meet the groups when they travel from Perú to New York in two weeks.

Indigenous groups affected by Citi’s $5.8 billion funding of controversial pipeline company Enbridge are also angry at the publication of the report. This includes communities which are fighting Line 3 and Line 5 construction in Minnesota and the Rio Bravo LNG pipeline in south Texas.

The nuns’ resolution will be voted on by shareholders at the annual shareholders meeting on April 30. In contrast, Citi in recent weeks agreed with the New York City Comptroller’s demands to disclose information on ratios of energy funding and with another investor on information on its clients transition plans. Both resolutions were withdrawn.

Quotes

Sister Susan Francois of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, said:

“More than 30% of shareholders supported our proposal last year and the year before, asking Citi to report concrete performance indicators on how they are respecting Indigenous People’s rights in existing and proposed general corporate and project financing.   This report is very light on this critical information and does not provide shareholders with confidence that Indigenous rights are being protected. In fact, new projects are being developed now with funding from Citi that place these rights and Citi’s reputation at risk. We look forward to presenting our proposal to shareholders again and encourage Citi to respond with more robust reporting to shareholders.”

Olivia Bisa, President of the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Chapra Nation in Peru:

“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 for ensuring that their due diligence adheres to international standards of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.” 

Tara Houska (Anishinaabe), founder of Indigenous women’s and two spirit led environmental protection group, Giniw Collective, which has opposed the Enbridge pipelines in Minnesota, said:

“Clearly Citi feels the pressure of Indigenous peoples’ voices finally being heard, yet they continue to avoid truth. Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities does not mean consultation, it means consent. Many of Citi’s clients lack our consent, costing them billions in delays, legal fights, and reputational damage. In response to hard-won protections in project-level finance for our people and ecosystems, industry largely shifted to corporate lending to maintain the status quo. Citi’s clients are obscuring the truth from Citi, as Citi is now obscuring the truth from its shareholders: Indigenous peoples pay the direct price of violence on our communities and lands, we all pay as a species reliant on a habitable planet. We deserve better.”

Juan Mancias, Chair of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, whose ancestral land will be impacted by the Rio Bravo gas pipeline which Enbridge wants to build, said:

“The title of this report is ‘Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ but respect is a learned value, it’s not a corporate ideal. Citi can’t decide on its own who to respect because they don’t have the standards in place to do that. You can say ‘respect’ but it’s really about action. Citi’s funding of Enbridge shows it is not interested in taking the action needed to show respect.”

Gisela Hurtado, Advocacy Manager and Peruvian Attorney, Amazon Watch:  

“The Indigenous Peoples of the Peruvian Amazon, represented by organizations such as FENAP, GTANW, and GTANCH, strongly condemn Citi’s recent report, ‘Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,’ for failing to adhere to international standards regarding Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) and the right to self-determination. While the report acknowledges Citi’s commitment to Indigenous collective rights, it falls short by neglecting clear Interamerican standards on Indigenous rights and self-determination”. 

Courtney Wicks Executive Director of Investor Advocates for Social Justice, which supports the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace on their shareholder filings said:

“Citi’s history of perpetuating racism and human rights violations as a result of the bank’s policies and practices has repeatedly undermined its reputation and exposed the bank to material risk. It is unclear why the company would continue to engage in such bad faith with investors and fail to consult impacted stakeholders before publishing such an egregiously inadequate report. This, coupled with the bank’s withdrawal from the Equator Principles, indicates that Citi no longer cares about its reputation or the harm its business commits against BIPOC and other marginalized peoples, or the planet itself.”

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

“If Citi is so eager to get investors and communities off its back then it needs to go beyond a report like this. We want to see actual policy changes where the bank agrees to end funding of egregious projects and companies which harm Indigenous communities from the Amazon rainforest to North America and places us further away from dealing with catastrophic climate chaos.”

Ryan Brightwell, campaign lead, banks and human rights, said:

“This flimsy paper tells us nothing about how effective Citi’s policies have been in protecting Indigenous Rights. It’s as if they haven’t understood the question. We know the bank has a track record of funding damaging extractive projects and companies, from the Cerrejon coal mine to DAPL and Line 3. But rather than dwelling on how this has been allowed to happen and what needs to improve, the bank has simply rehashed its policies and published a few numbers of transactions approved and declined.

“It’s not enough to tell shareholders there were 7 deals last year that were sufficiently outside the pale for the bank to say “no”, and this won’t reassure shareholders that the bank is managing risks effectively. Shareholders should call the bank’s bluff and insist the bank really examines its failings and improves.”

Background Info

Citi published a climate report two weeks ago which showed 71% of the oil, gas and coal companies it funds do not have sufficient climate plans to transition away from fossil fuels and address their massive emissions. Last month the bank exited the Equator Principles, which set minimum standards on risks to the environment and local communities in countries where they finance oil, gas, coal, infrastructure and mining projects. The day before its proxy book was released, Citi capitulated to New York City’s Comptroller and agreed to issue a report on the bank’s ratio of financing dirty fossil fuels vs low-carbon energy. NYC withdrew its resolution. 

Citi is the second biggest funder of fossil fuels in the world, pumping in $322 billion between  2016-2022 according to the annual Banking on Climate Chaos report. Citi is one of the biggest funders of oil and gas in the Amazon and is the biggest foreign funder of fossil fuel expansion in Africa.

Press Contact:

Judith Crosbie, Sunrise Project, [email protected]

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Pressure on Citi to drop fossil fuel clients as report shows transition plans lacking

March 27, 2024

NEW YORK CITY – Citi is under pressure to drop clients focused on oil, gas, and coal as a new report by the bank shows 71% of these companies do not have sufficient climate plans to transition away from fossil fuels and address their massive emissions.

Only 28% of the oil, gas and coal companies Citi funds have a medium or strong transition plan into a clean energy future. The report categorizes oil and gas production and “energy process industries” as very high risk for not transitioning.

Citi’s report also shows it was responsible for 89.3 million metric tonnes of CO2 through their financing of fossil fuel companies, which is the equivalent of over 21 million cars driven for a year or 23 coal-fired power plants operating for a year.*

Despite the poor transition plans of the oil, gas and coal companies it funds, Citi fails to mention dropping clients, instead stating its will “hold conversations” with them and “continue facilitating solutions to support their transition planning.” Citi has been doubling down on its support for clients that do not have credible transition plans, including Exxon Mobil with Citi acting as lead advisor on the merger with Pioneer last year.

Richard Brooks, Climate Finance director at Stand.earth, called on Citi to explain how it can transition as a bank if the companies it lends to are not transitioning.

“Citi has laid out quite clearly that the vast majority of its clients are laggards and have no intention of transitioning away from oil, gas and coal. Because of this, Citi is responsible for over 23 coal plants worth of pollution due to the dirty energy companies it finances. Citi must take real action by divesting and transitioning its current relationships with these laggards who are failing to meet the needs of our clean energy future.”

Shawna Ambrose, spokesperson for Rainforest Action Network, added:

“Citi has a unique opportunity to lead the transition to a clean energy economy; instead the evidence is clear that Citi persists in bankrolling fossil fuel expansion and lacks credible, time-bound policies to achieve a transition that is aligned with what is needed to limit warming to below 1.5C and avert climate chaos. People from the Amazon to the US Gulf Coast are relying on Citigroup to make real and rapid progress on the targets it has promised – for the health of their children and all of our future generations on this planet.”

Citi is the second biggest funder of fossil fuels in the world, pumping in $322 billion between 2016-2022 according to the annual Banking on Climate Chaos report. The bank recently abandoned a bare minimum set of standards on risks to the environment and local communities where it finances oil, gas, coal, infrastructure and mining projects. These standards, called the Equator Principles, have also been dropped by  JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Citi is listed as having applied the Equator Principles to its funding of Cheniere’s Corpus Christi LNG expansion project in Texas in 2022, which is opposed by local communities over its health and environmental impacts.

The move is part of a concerning trend among banks headquartered in the US to backpedal on commitments on climate and to vulnerable communities affected by their financing deals. 

Bank of America has removed explicit bans on financing coal and Arctic drilling projects. JPMorgan Chase has introduced an “energy mix” for calculating its financed emissions, which will include renewable energy and make it harder to assess and recently left the voluntary CA100+ initiative. Citi’s chief executive, Jane Fraser, has also signalled a shift in priority.

Other global banks have continued to make policy changes to address climate and community risks. Barclays last month announced an end to funding for new oil and gas projects; HSBC in 2022 said it was ending funding for new fossil fuel projects. Danske Bank announced they would severely limit investments in fossil fuels via their asset management division after last year saying it would stop financing oil and gas projects and companies.

Last week the NYC Comptroller announced he had successfully pressured Citi to disclose information in 2024  on how much low carbon energy it finances in comparison to oil, gas and coal energy. Citi’s current ratio is 0.60:1 meaning for every $1 financing dirty fossil fuels only 60 cents are going into low-carbon energy like renewables. The International Energy Agency and others have stated the current ratio must by 4:1 to half economy wide emissions by 2030. As a result, Citi will no longer face a shareholder vote on the issue at its annual general meeting but the bank has yet to set a target to fix its energy ratio problem. 

 

* According to EPA greenhouse gas equivalents https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator#results

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Emily Pomilio, Stand.earth

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Citi agrees to climate disclosure after NYC investor pressure

March 20, 2024

This week, the New York City Comptroller’s office withdrew its Citi shareholder resolution given the bank’s commitment to disclose energy supply financing ratios, as reported by the Financial Times.

According to Bloomberg NEF which has pioneered energy ratio data, Citi has one of the worst clean to dirty energy ratios in the world at 0.58:1, meaning for every $1 financing fossil fuels only 58 cents is going into low carbon energy. The International Energy Agency has affirmed that banks’ ratios must be 4:1 by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. 

Through negotiations, Citi has agreed to disclose information on how much low carbon energy it finances in comparison to oil, gas and coal energy, after pressure from the NYC Comptroller and New York pension funds. Citi still faces a resolution on Indigenous rights, which for 2 years, has attracted over 30% of investor support.

Hannah Saggau, a climate finance campaigner with Stand.Earth, said:

“Citi’s move to disclose its energy financing ratios, thanks to pressure from the NYC Comptroller, shows they’re reading the writing on the wall and know their ratio of dirty to clean energy financing is not fit for the times. There are fundamental risks to investing in oil, gas and coal while climate change threatens economic stability for the hard-working members of their pension plans. 

“This should encourage other shareholders to challenge Citi on its environmentally racist support of fossil fuels by rapidly phasing out of oil, gas and coal funding and ramping up its financing of sustainable power. Time for investors to flex and send a message that laggard banks need to change their energy financing approach.”

“We expect that this settlement will give a boost to votes at the four remaining banks where the resolution is going forward, notorious fossil banks RBC, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.”

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Emily Pomilio, Stand.earth

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Big 4 US banks abandon standards to protect environment & communities

March 5, 2024

Four of the biggest banks in the world have left the Equator Principles, which set minimum standards on risks to the environment and local communities in countries where they finance oil, gas, coal, infrastructure and mining projects. 

Citi, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are listed as having left the group of banks which has signed the principles, which still includes global banks such as Barclays, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Canada. Citi has boasted in previous reports that it is a “founding signatory” to the Equator Principles and that it has applied them to various projects it has funded to assess and monitor the risk involved. This includes a massive LNG project in Texas, Cheniere’s $8 billion Corpus Christi expansion project, which is opposed by local communities over its health and environmental impacts.

The move is part of a concerning trend among banks headquartered in the US to backpedal on commitments on climate and to vulnerable communities affected by their financing deals. 

Bank of America has removed explicit bans on financing coal and Arctic drilling projects. JPMorgan Chase has introduced an “energy mix” for calculating its financed emissions, which will include renewable energy and make it harder to assess and recently left the voluntary CA100+ initiative. Citi’s chief executive, Jane Fraser, has also signalled a shift in priority.

Ironically, US banks sent large delegations to the recent climate talks at COP 28 in Dubai: Citi sent 26 staff and Bank of America sent 18, including chief executive Brian Moynihan. 

The four US banks are the biggest funders of oil, gas and coal in the world, pumping in $1.4 trillion between 2016-2022. 

Other global banks have continued to make policy changes to address climate and community risks. Barclays last month announced an end to funding for new oil and gas projects; HSBC in 2022 said it was ending funding for new fossil fuel projects. Most recently Danske Bank announced they would severely limit investments in fossil fuels via their asset management division after last year saying it would stop financing oil and gas projects and companies.

Richard Brooks, Climate Finance Director, Stand.earth:

“It is a very troubling move by some of the biggest fossil fuel financing banks in the world to abandon a bare minimum set of standards that banks themselves have set. It is both ethically shocking and financially irresponsible. It is becoming increasingly apparent these banks do not care about anything other than the bottom line.”

Johan Frijns, director, BankTrack:

“The sudden, quiet and coordinated departure of four major US banks from the Equator Principles is an alarming signal that they are not even prepared to adhere to these inadequate global minimum standards. The Equator Principles need fundamental reform, but quitting them in fear of political backlash will further undermine the rights and interests of communities whose rights and environment are so often damaged by the projects banks finance. We demand that such minimum safeguards continue to be respected by the banks now walking away from the initiative.”

Mary Mijares, Fossil Finance Campaigner, Amazon Watch:

“The exit of the largest US banks from the Equator Principles will only further reinforce their disregard for rights and the climate at large. The principles, which serve as a foundational commitment to safeguarding rights and the climate, are crucial. At a time when more commitments are needed from financial institutions, banks must not backslide for the sake of our collective future.”

Adele Shraiman, Fossil-Free Finance campaign senior strategist, Sierra Club:

“This is yet another display of cowardice that shows how Wall Street is bending to pressure from climate denier extremists rather than upholding some of their most basic climate and human rights commitments. While the fossil fuel industry and their political henchmen are pushing financial institutions to not even do the bare minimum, banks should know that they cannot continue to ignore the very real climate risks that their customers, shareholders, and regulators are increasingly alarmed about.”

Aditi Sen, Climate and Energy Director, Rainforest Action Network:

“The equator principles set out the absolute minimum set of standards and safeguards for financial institutions to address environmental and social risks in the projects they finance. The silent retreat from major US banks which are among the biggest financiers of fossil fuels globally from this initiative is deeply concerning. It further undermines the rights of frontline and fenceline communities across the world who bear the brunt of impacts from toxic projects.” 

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Judith Crosbie, The Sunrise Project

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British bank Barclays commits to stop financing oil and gas that destroys Amazonia

February 9, 2024

Today, the British bank Barclays announced it will stop project and corporate financing for oil and gas in the region, joining a growing list of banks restricting the money flow into a sector that is a major contributor to the destruction of Amazonia and the climate. The announcement comes after years of pressure from civil society groups and Amazonian Indigenous leaders that have joined forces to stop the flows of cash pushing the rainforest to a tipping point. Environmental organization Stand.earth and the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) commend the civil society groups involved in this step towards a fossil fuel exit.

Barclays currently holds the 61st position in the Stand.earth Amazon Banks Database that shows the top banks most complicit in the oil sector’s destruction of the rainforest. Research shows that Barclays has only one deal directly financing oil and gas extraction in the Amazon rainforest – a sum of $12,750,000 with Ecopetrol. However, the policy does not cover oil trading, and the bank has ongoing financial relationships with oil traders like Shell, Vitol, PTT, and Trafigura that operate in Amazonia. Vitol and Trafigura are directly implicated in the Petroecuador bribery scandals that are the subject of ongoing corruption trials in New York while PTT (formerly Petrothailandia) is involved in the Amazon oil trade as part of the well-publicized scandal that Gunvor paid millions of dollars in bribes to gain favorable oil contracts.

Since Stand.earth launched the campaign Exit Amazon Oil and Gas, banks including BNP Paribas, Natixis, ING, and Credit Suisse 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. Research by Stand.earth Research Group traced these flows to California, which is the world’s largest consumer of Amazon oil. In addition, BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Intesa Sanpaolo, HSBC and Standard Chartered have also committed to excluding Amazon oil and gas financing across the Amazon more broadly.

The new policy by Barclays is similar to the one applied by British bank HSBC in 2022, which was the first exclusion to include all of Amazonia. Barclays’ move sends an important signal to other banks who hold the biggest influence in the region: JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Santander, Itau, Goldman Sachs and Bradesco. These banks must acknowledge the risk posed to Amazonia and Indigenous communities 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. This is the focus of a new report, “Greenwashing the Amazon” which will be released by Stand.earth, COICA, and Earth InSight in March 2024.

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

“Every time a bank announces a withdrawal from the Amazonia, it opens the possibility of reversing the tipping point, of maintaining the integrity of the ecosystems and their incredible biodiversity, and of preserving our culture and the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples that have kept the Amazon alive for millennia and enabled our survival with health and well-being. Since 2021, we have called to protect 80% of the Amazon rainforest as a measure to save our home and all of humanity. A living Amazon is a guarantee for life on the planet. We hope that the major financiers of oil and gas in Amazonia – such as JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Santander, Itau, Goldman Sachs and Bradesco – who are responsible for the contamination of our rivers and territories and for affecting the health of our brothers and sisters, will join us in this path to save life on the planet.”

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

“The Amazon rainforest is burning and close to a tipping point due to the high levels of destruction driven by extractive industries like oil and gas which threaten the rainforest’s ability to regenerate. Barclays decision to stop financing oil and gas in Amazonia is the right decision – The time has come for the biggest bankrollers of Amazon destruction like Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Santander to follow suit. Financing oil and gas in Amazonia is quite literally throwing fuel on the fire of one of the most important forests left on Earth.”

Press Contacts:

Bryan Ludeña, COICA
[email protected] / +593 98 979 5277

Lays Ushirobira, Stand.earth
[email protected] / +34 685 20 05 91

Matt Krogh, Stand.earth
[email protected] / +1 360 820 2938

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Bank of America removes bans on coal and Arctic drilling

February 3, 2024

Bank of America has dramatically backpedalled on climate commitments and removed explicit bans on financing coal mines and Arctic drilling.

The move is being slammed by climate groups as an affront to the recent global agreement by governments at COP to transition away from oil, gas and coal and is part of a concerning trend among banks headquartered in the US to weaken their stance on climate.

Bank of America’s updated Environmental and Social Risk Policy removes language from a previous policy that it will “not directly finance” oil exploration and extraction in the Arctic, thermal coal mines or new coal-fired plants. Instead these activities will now go though “enhanced due diligence”.

The Bank of America policy change follows a November announcement by JPMorgan Chase of an “energy mix” for calculating its financed emissions, which will include renewable energy and make it harder to assess. Citi’s chief executive Jane Fraser has also signalled a shift in priority.

US banks sent large delegations to the recent climate talks at COP 28 in Dubai: Citi sent 26 staff and Bank of America sent 18, including chief executive Brian Moynihan.

The top global banks have pumped $5.5 trillion into oil, gas and coal expansion since 2016. Bank of America is the fourth largest funder at $280 billion, and is a major financier of fossil fuel expansion in the Amazon and of the LNG build-out. JP Morgan Chase is the biggest funder at $434 billion and Citi is number two at $333 billion.

Other global banks have made major policy changes in line with climate action: HSBC in 2022 announced it was ending funding for new fossil fuel projects while Danske Bank last year said it would stop financing oil and gas projects and companies.

Hannah Saggau, Stand.Earth

“The ink is barely dry on the global agreement at COP28 to transition away from coal, oil and gas and now Bank of America has decided to significantly weaken their restrictions on financing the most egregious fossil fuel projects: in the pristine Arctic and dirty coal. Bank of America’s backpedalling on its climate commitments proves that its loyalties lie with the fossil fuel industry, not the communities they purport to serve. The bank must explain to investors, shareholders, customers and employees why it has chosen to snub the global consensus on climate action.”

Aditi Sen, Rainforest Action Network

“Wall Street banks are rolling back fossil fuel finance policies against the tide of history at a time of intensifying climate chaos. Bank of America, in addition to being one of the world’s worst financiers of fossil fuels, recently updated their Environmental and Social Risk Policy Framework to open a lane for fossil finance previously (and rightly) ruled out, including around Arctic drilling, new coal-fired power plants and thermal coal mines. JPMorgan Chase, long the single largest financier of fossil fuels and fossil expansion, and the only Wall Street bank to finance the recent Rio Grande LNG project, rolled out an energy mix target that buries their fossil fuel financing from public scrutiny.”

Lucie Pinson, director of Reclaim Finance

“Bank of America’s backtrack may seem inconsequential at first glance, given its limited involvement in directly financing new fossil fuel projects. However, the audacity lies in its blatant endorsement of clients like Glencore and Sasol, corporations that actively contribute to climate chaos and inequalities by persistently developing new coal plants. This move is nothing short of scandalous, as it directly contradicts the global efforts to limit global warming to the 1.5°C target outlined in climate agreements. By embracing entities that undermine environmental sustainability, the bank appears to be in clear opposition to its own net-zero pledge, casting doubt on its commitment as a member of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA). This raises serious concerns about the bank’s priorities and values, signaling a disconcerting willingness to act counter to its stated environmental goals”

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Judith Crosbie, The Sunrise Project

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Stand.earth Commends NYC Comptroller Climate Resolutions at Big Fossil Banks

New York, NY – Today, the New York City Comptroller, representing $255 billion in assets under management, announced filing of climate shareholder resolutions at big fossil banks, including Citibank and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).

The resolutions specifically challenge six major banks on skewed financing ratios of dirty energy to clean energy, which are currently dangerously out of sync with all legitimate energy modeling projections, including from the International Energy Association (IEA).

“Big fossil banks like RBC and Citi are dragging us all backwards by over-financing dirty energy of the past, and under-financing solutions for a climate-safe economy. On the heels of the hottest year on-record, this reckless imbalance has deadly impacts for our communities and climate,” said Richard Brooks, Stand.earth Climate Finance Director. “We commend New York City’s leadership, as the home of Wall Street, to push big banks to be part of the solution and stop exacerbating the problem. This is a clear signal for pensions and institutional investors everywhere to step up and support these resolutions.”

Today’s resolutions come on the heels of a recent first-of-its-kind report and scorecard – the Hidden Risk in Pensions – which graded 24 U.S. public pension funds (including NYC) on proxy voting and guidelines.

Both Citi and RBC’s ratio of financing renewables to fossil fuels are abysmally low, according to Bloomberg NEF. RBC’s ratio was 0.4:1 in 2022, while Citi’s ratio actually decreased from 0.7:1 in 2021 to 0.6:1 in 2022.

Citi was warned by the United Nations, along with other banks, that their financing of Saudi Aramco may contribute to global human rights violations because of the oil giant’s role in driving climate chaos. Meanwhile, RBC is currently under investigation by the Competition Bureau of Canada for allegedly misleading consumers with climate-related advertising while continuing to increase financing for coal, oil and gas, including in extreme energy like fracking and tar sands.

RBC and Citi’s proxy statements are expected in early March ahead of annual general meetings (AGMs): RBC’s in Toronto on April 11, 2024, and Citi’s at the end of April.

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Lindsay Meiman, Stand.earth —

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