Hamilton 350

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Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Canadians must unite to fight global warming! This summer wildfires have raged across our land; these fires were fueled by forests made tinder-dry due to the climate crisis.

This is conveyed with alarming clarity by John Vaillant in his book Fire Weather.

Canadian fossil fuel companies continue to extract oil and gas at an alarming rate, despite knowing that burning fossil fuels adds to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This greenhouse gas helps trap heat on our planet, and we have just experienced the hottest days in human history.

A report from a coalition of environmental groups shows that the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was the biggest fossil fuel financier in the world in 2022, providing over USD$42 billion to subsidize the climate crisis. From the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) report, Banking on Climate Chaos:

“Three Canadian banks are among the top 10 globally in terms of financing the Oil Sands gas sector since the Paris Agreement 2016. According to the data, Scotiabank ranked ninth globally with $29.5 billion US in funding and TD was just behind at about $29 billion US, while Bank of Montreal ranked 15 and CIBC 16th at $19.3 billion US and $17.9 billion US respectively. Collectively, the big five Canadian banks doled out almost $140 billion US to the fossil fuel developments last year”.

Canada’s Big Five banks are infiltrated by fossil fuel directors

As reported by John Woodside in The National Observer on 21 May 2024:

Canada’s largest banks are deeply entrenched in fossil fuels, having pumped at least $1.2 trillion into the sector since the Paris Agreement was signed in late 2015. But it’s not just their investments and lending that are increasingly under scrutiny –– it’s their leadership, too.

RBC, Scotiabank, TD, BMO and CIBC are each governed by a board of directors, and several of their board members also sit on the board of a fossil fuel company. For climate advocates, this raises serious questions about potential conflicts of interest and speaks to the need for government intervention.

A 2022 investigation from Canada’s National Observer revealed one in five bank directors also sits on the board of fossil fuel companies such as Enbridge, TC Energy and Capital Power. As previously reported, those connections could also represent a violation of the director’s legal obligations to act impartially in the bank’s best long-term interest, given the threat of climate change means fossil fuel assets could become worthless.

Read the rest of the article here

Leading the way in Hamilton

The Hamilton 350 action group, Elders for Climate Sanity (E4CS), continues to protest the many lenders who prop up the fossil fuel industry. They have been targeting Canada’s five largest banks at several locations across Hamilton and Dundas. They also make their presence felt at public events such as Supercrawl, the Festival of Friends, Open Streets on Locke, and so on.

What we do

  • Talk with any bank managers and staff willing to engage with us.
  • Hand out leaflets to people on the street, informing them of the issue and why we’re taking these actions.
  • Write letters to politicians at every level of government to lobby for a safer, cleaner environment by transitioning to green energy

What we ask

  • Start talking Climate with your bank today.
  • Ask your bank to stop lending to tar sands projects, fracking, pipelines, and other fossil fuel extraction industries.
  • Lobby governments, corporations and pension funds to redirect funding towards renewable energy projects for a livable future for our kids.

What you can do

  • Move your money to a credit union that invests locally and gives you a say.
  • Tell your bank why you are switching.
  • Write to a bank official such as RBC’s CEO, David McKay, Royal Bank of Canada, 200 Bay St. Toronto ON M5J 2W7.

It’s easy to do!

We got this email from one of our supporters, Frances in Brantford:

The Hamilton 350 action group, Elders for Climate Sanity (E4CS), continues to protest the many lenders who prop up the fossil fuel industry. They have been targeting Canada’s five largest banks at several locations across Hamilton and Dundas. They also make their presence felt at public events such as Supercrawl, the Festival of Friends, Open Streets on Locke, and so on.

What we do

  • Talk with any bank managers and staff willing to engage with us.
  • Hand out leaflets to people on the street, informing them of the issue and why we’re taking these actions.
  • Write letters to politicians at every level of government to lobby for a safer, cleaner environment by transitioning to green energy

What we ask

  • Start talking Climate with your bank today.
  • Ask your bank to stop lending to tar sands projects, fracking, pipelines, and other fossil fuel extraction industries.
  • Lobby governments, corporations and pension funds to redirect funding towards renewable energy projects for a livable future for our kids.

What you can do

  • Move your money to a credit union that invests locally and gives you a say.
  • Tell your bank why you are switching.
  • Write to a bank official such as RBC’s CEO, David McKay, Royal Bank of Canada, 200 Bay St. Toronto ON M5J 2W7.

It’s easy to do!

We got this email from one of our supporters, Frances in Brantford:

Hello!

I left my bank (Tangerine owned by Scotiabank) in August when I moved to Brantford. I’m now with First Ontario Credit Union.

It was not as difficult a transition as I’d thought it would be. It was actually fairly painless as the new institution took care of most transfers of funds. I had to set up new bill paying accounts anyway, so changing banks after moving worked out well.

It feels great to have my money with a real community organization, and there was even a recent survey of their customers asking for input on priorities for investments.

There’s a lot more useful information at the Climate Pledge Collective.

But it’s not just the banks

Unfortunately, our Canadian Pension Plan also helps support the fossil fuel industry. Recently, we’ve also been handing out a postcard addressed to the President and CEO of the Canada Pension Plan and Investment Board asking then to “Stop funding the climate crisis!”

Please join us at our events. The more people who take part, the stronger the message!’