Greenpeace disrupts Scotiabank AGM with (un)happy birthday party to call out continued financing of fossil fuels

(TORONTO) – Greenpeace activists disrupted Scotiabank’s 190th AGM with a satiric birthday party calling out the bank’s continued financing of fossil fuels, failure to respect Indigenous rights, and their membership in the oil lobby group CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) [1]. The festive but determined protesters said that despite their claims to be green, Scotiabank and all of the biggest Canadian banks are responsible for fueling the climate crisis due to their financial support for the fossil fuel sector.

“This AGM is the perfect moment to remind shareholders of Scotiabank’s dirty investments in destructive fossil fuels projects that are fueling the climate crisis and undermining Indigenous rights. Scotiabank’s funding of fossil fuels went up 88% last year,” said Tara Seucharan, mobilization campaigner at Greenpeace Canada and one of the protestors. “Scientists are saying we need to cut emissions drastically, but Canadian banks are still pouring billions into the fossil fuel sector, the largest and fastest rising source of emissions in Canada. Scotiabank, TD, CIBC, RBC and BMO must rapidly phase out their support for fossil fuels and invest in a just transition for workers. Without any delay” added Seucharan.

All of Canada’s Big 5 Banks are in the top 20 of global funders of fossil fuels, collectively have provided C$900 billion to fossil fuels companies since the Paris climate agreement was signed. Scotiabank alone provided C$195 billion, including to destructive projects such as the Keystone XL, TMX, Line 3, and Coastal GasLink pipelines [2]. Scotiabank is also the only major Canadian bank that is actually a member of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the main oil lobby group in Canada, which has been actively lobbying against climate action.

“When I read that Scotiabank is a member of CAPP, and then heard this exact same bank claiming it’s committed to fighting climate change and injustice, it’s clear they are trying to fool us,” said Chloé Tse, a volunteer with Greenpeace Canada and activist on site. “We don’t have time for their greenwash. Extreme climate-fueled events are already here, burning down ecosystems, flooding cities, and putting vulnerable communities including many Indigenous ones on the frontlines of climate change impacts. We need concrete action to stop things from getting even worse, starting with Scotiabank immediately cutting ties with this dangerous fossil fuel lobby group, followed by a rapid phase out of all fossil fuel financing. Maybe then, we would throw them a happier party” concluded Tse.

The protest was a fun, creative way to deliver a direct message to Scotiabank and its shareholders, among whom are the other big banks: TD, CIBC, RBC, and BMO. More broadly, Greenpeace is calling on Canadian banks to phase out financing of fossil fuels by immediately ending all financing of new fossil fuels projects [3], presenting plans to cut financed emissions in half by 2030 and uphold, affirm and respect Indigenous rights. Yesterday’s IPCC report was yet another alarm bell for the financial system and governments, showing once again there’s no room for new fossil fuel infrastructures. To limit the impacts of climate change, investments need to flow to cleaner solutions and away from fossil fuels.

ENDS

Note to editors:

[1] Images of the action at Scotiabank headquarters in Toronto can be found on the Greenpeace media library

[2] Backgrounder on Scotiabank and fossil fuels financing in Canada & Banking on Climate Chaos report.

[3] More than 23 000 Greenpeace supporters have written to the bank CEOs, telling them to stop funding fossil fuels and respect Indigenous rights: Darryl White, CEO of BMO; Victor Dodig, CEO of CIBC; Dave McKay, CEO of RBC, Brian Porter, CEO of Scotiabank; Bharat Masrani, CEO of TD.

For more information, please contact:

On site

Laura Bergamo, Communications officer, Greenpeace Canada 

lbergamo@greenpeace.org; +1 438 928-5237

From the office 

Marie-Christine Fiset, Head of media, Greenpeace Canada

marie-christine.fiset@greenpeace.org; +1 514 972-6316