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. 

###

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.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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Case Study: Citibank Funds Oil Expansion in Amazonia

In 2017, Citibank was the sole underwriter on $615.3 million USD in bonds issued by Petroamazonas (now PetroEcuador) to repay debts to vendors and service suppliers especially Schlumberger – the oil company owed over $850 million USD for oil drilling in the Shushufindi and Auca blocks in the Ecuadorian Amazon between 2015 and 2017. Citibank’s involvement in the deal also lent much-needed credibility to the state-run oil company, which went on to start a massive drilling campaign with Schlumberger in the ITT Block in Yasuni National Park.

In 2020 Citibank, along with Itaú Unibanco, provided GeoPark with a bridge loan to secure GeoPark’s acquisition of Amerisur — a small Colombian oil producer with a history of polluting Indigenous territory in the Amazon. Citibank and Itaú Unibanco then acted as book-runners for a $350 million USD bond issuance for GeoPark that raised the capital to pay for the purchase. The Amerisur acquisition brought GeoPark into the Colombian Amazon and with it all of Amerisur’s dirty legacy in the Putumayo, including the Platanillo block where Indigenous Siona peoples allege that Amerisur polluted their waterways and compromised their health and livelihoods. GeoPark saw the acquisition as an opportunity to use the Platanillo block, the most commercially viable block in Amerisur’s operations, as a “steady cash flow base” while expanding oil production in other “highly prospective exploration licenses” i.e. expanding oil production to other blocks that overlapped Indigenous territory in the Putumayo (e.g. PUT-8, PUT-9, and PUT-12) where GeoPark had capital commitments in 2021.

5 teal charts with white numbers in the upper middle and name of five banks below each of the five charts

In 2022, Citibank took a leading role in bond issuances made by Eneva SA, including raising capital for the construction of TPP Azulão, a 295-megawatt natural gas-fired thermoelectric plant in the state of Amazonas. The plant has faced opposition from Brazilian environmental groups who point out that the plant was rushed through environmental permitting with no time for proper impact assessment for a project that threatens local air and water quality and will contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The plant will generate electricity from the Azulão gas fields, which started production in 2021 and will expand to meet the growing demand.

Citibank has played a deciding factor in supplying the financing and credibility for oil expansion in Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil.

In each case, Citibank has played a deciding factor in supplying the financing and credibility for oil expansion in Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil. For a bank that wants to “drive the transition to a net zero economy and make good on the promise of the Paris agreement,” as CEO Jane Fraser was recently quoted as saying, Citibank is not putting its money where its mouth is. Citibank should immediately stop financing the expansion of oil and gas in Amazonia instead of continuing to do business on a path that will certainly break the promise of staying under 1.5C envisioned by the Paris Agreement.

This is a re-publication of a case study on Citibank from the 2023 Capitalizing on Collapse report. Read the original case study published at Stand.earth here.

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

An article from Bloomberg covers Stand.earth’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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Urge Citi to stop financing Amazon destruction

Sponsored by: Stand.earth

Citi executives must stop destroying Amazonia and warming our planet

Out of 160 banks, Citibank is the second highest financier of Amazon oil and gas projects – with over $1.8 billion USD worth of financing.

This fossil fuel bank has been steadily creating climate chaos all while publicly agreeing to climate commitments. Amazonia has already been forced to a tipping point due to forest destruction caused by industrial activities. The Indigenous Peoples of Amazonia are calling for an urgent protection of 80% of the region by 2025. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has already warned that there can be no new fossil fuel projects if the world is to stay within the 1.5°C limit on global warming.

We are calling on Citi to fully exit financing for Amazon oil and gas. As we enter a new era of climate chaos, it is imperative that banks stop financing oil and gas in Amazonia.

Add your name today to urge Citi to stop financing the destruction of Amazonia and the planet.

Note: Check out Stand.earth and Stand Research Group’s recent report, “Capitalizing on Collapse” to see which banks are responsible for the $20 billion USD financing of Amazon oil and gas over the past 15 years.

Add your name and tell Citi to stop financing Amazon destruction

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Report: The Top Banks Financing Amazon oil and gas

A new report “Capitalizing on Collapse” by Stand Research Group shows the complicity of leading banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Itau Unibanco, HSBC, and Banco Santander, in the deforestation of Amazonia.

Here are our top findings:

  • The culprits are clear: 8 fossil fuel banks are responsible for the majority of $20 billion USD in direct financing for oil and gas companies destroying the Amazon; 5% of banks provide over 55%.
  • Their influence runs deep: These banks act as enablers of influence and power of the fossil fuel industry in the region: including backing corruption, financing projects that will impact Uncontacted Peoples and Indigenous rights, or financing carbon bombs.
  • Big money flows through loopholes: Banks increasingly cannot trace how the money lent to oil and gas companies is spent, making it practically impossible to ensure financing compliance with their own environmental, social, and climate commitments.

As we enter a new era of climate chaos, it is imperative that banks financing oil and gas in Amazonia. Amazonia is a globally significant region for Indigenous stewardship, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity.

Read the full report at the Stand.earth’s website

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