This webinar by Climate Pledge Collective provides more clarity around our January Action of the Month: Holding our banks to Account.
If you have 15 minutes, we highly recommend watching this condensed version of the webinar. https://t.co/HFXIbk3Qb0?amp=1
So why are we writing to our banks?
1) Fossil Fuel exploration & expansion will continue as long as oil companies can get banks to underwrite their new projects. Banks need to stop financing NEW fossil fuel projects. We need to keep the oil in the ground or we won’t meet IPCC targets of warming only to 1.5C
2)Since the adoption of the Paris agreement in 2016 Canadian Banks have invested almost $500 Billion dollars into upending and underwriting to the fossil fuel industry. With the annual fossil financing INCREASING each year. (RBC spent $160 B in TD has provided $103 billion; Scotiabank $97.5 billion; BMO $82 billion; CIBC $57 billion.)
3) In terms of policies, CDN banks are the worst: scoring between 0.5 & 3 points out of 200 points based on the Banking on Climate Change report which tallies up fossil fuel policies. So all of our Canadian Banks have no problem with funding coal (in 2021!!) Drilling in the arctic or fracking. (https://www.ran.org/bankingonclimatechange2020/)
4) Banks have a horrific trackrecord of disregarding Indigenous lands, values and persons. This is a bit more of a complicated situation to summarize so see this post dedicated to this.
So what is the solution?
Canadians WANT a bank that does not finance new fossil fuel projects. So send a message to your bank that you are not impressed by their policies and that if they don't change, you will -- (change to a bank that WILL not fund new fossil fuels projects that is).
A. First email or call your bank and tell them the problem: Fossil fuels drive climate change. Their lending policies drive climate change. Our earth cannot afford to keep with this trajectory, we have enough oil projects. The letters are sneakily designed to make the banks compete with each other, by highlighting what other banks are doing . If possible, we suggest talking with someone you already know in the bank. When you talk to them, tell them about the Banking on Climate Change Report and how poorly the bank did. Ask them to forward the report to their branch manager and ask the branch manager to forward it up the ranks.
B. If you are ready to commit talk to your banks, sign up to BankSwitch. With enough people comitting to putting their banks on notice for their policies we can draw more attention to this campaign and have a stronger impact, ideally with LOTs of media attention (banks don't like negative press) https://climatepledgecollective.org/.../why-bankswitch.../
C. Then wait.. don't switch banks just yet. We want to give them an opportunity to show that they CAN change. As a client of their business you hold power to make them change. We recommend, if you can, to just nudge them every few weeks and ask them how that policy change is going. And if they don't change by Earth Day, that's when you can start making plans. Even if you don't switch your day-to-day banking, consider switching your mortgage or your student loans. Those will make the bank take notice! You can also open up your child's bank account at a credit union (Banks won't want to miss out on the next generation of loans!).
D. Share the video, this post or the BankSwitch program with friends. Explain why banks are a huge problem to our ability to mitigate climate change.
E. Finally, on the day of action, January 29th, we ask you to share publicly all that you are doing. Whether that is sharing your new knowledge of the problem, that you wrote a letter, that you called a bank. Tag us and we will amplify your message. #FossilBanksNoThanks. But you can also share on this post right now to inspire others!
Let's get this Bank Party Started!