Do you know how much Canada's big five banks invest in fossil fuel industries? More than $131 billion in 2021 alone, according to the most recent (April 2022) Fossil Fuel Finance Report Banking on Climate Chaos. And since 2016, when Canada committed to the Paris Agreement to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to avoid raising the global temperature beyond a liveable level, $700 billion has been given to fossil fuel companies by RBC, TD, Scotiabank, BMO and CIBC.
Even more disturbing: last year reflected a huge increase in investment after a slight downward trend.
Part of that money - your money, if you're one of their customers - provides the financial backing for projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline which are violating Indigenous Rights.
Anyone concerned about the health of our kids, now and in the future, knows this needs to change. Imagine the impact that money could make if it were invested instead in sustainable energy, a fair and just transition for anyone dependent on the fossil fuel industry, and innovative solutions to the climate change challenges we're facing.
So what can we do?
One of the most powerful tools we have as parents and grandparents to demand climate action is directing where our savings and pension plan funds are invested.
All working Canadians are members of at least one of the top 10 pension funds that invest more than $1.6 trillion in retirement savings, often into fossil fuels. Most mortgages, RRSPs and savings accounts are through one of the big 5 Canadian banks. Business and personal investments count too.
Getting banks and pension plans to change their investment policies is possible. Check out these ideas and choose the one(s) that fit for you.
Most of all, record your actions, share them with your networks, and with For Our Kids so we can amplify your voices. Stay tuned as this campaign continues to grow across the country. You can reach us at [email protected]
For more about pension plans here's a step-by-step guide from Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health
Here's good info about actions aimed at Canada's Top Banks AGMs
RBC Revealed has much more on the impact of investment in fossil fuels
Have kids or grandkids starting on their own banking journey? Check out Banking on a Better Future for youth actions
For inspiration, see this letter from more than 40 Indigenous women leaders calling on banks to respect Indigenous rights and stop providing financial support for the industry destroying their homelands
For more info on contacting your bank or taking your business elsewhere, check out the Bank Switch site