October 29th will be a global day of action against fossil fuel financing. In so-called Canada, the action will focus attention on RBC’s funding for the Coastal GasLink pipeline which is currently being forced through Wet’suwet’en Territory against the wishes of hereditary leaders.
Finance and public policy are the biggest drivers of change in most industries, and the oil and gas industry is no different. Banks have often been overlooked as a lever for change. Their complicity in profiting from climate disaster is now coming into sharper focus with groups like Rainforest Action Network and Bank Track publishing annual reports about the extent to which these institutions are funding fossil fuel extraction.
Toronto350 has partnered with a growing list of climate justice organizations to put the top 5 Canadian banks in the hot-seat, highlighting their appetite for climate destruction. People across Canada are booking call-in phone appointments with their home branches, expressing their concerns about their bank’s fossil fuel financing.
WHY SHOULD YOU CALL?
First, as a customer entrusting your money to an institution, you deserve a clear explanation about their fossil fuel entanglements. If they can’t give you that – well, it might be time for a good old #BankSwitch! Second, talking to a bank representative is one of the best high-impact actions we can take as individuals. The job of bank managers and representatives is to gain and retain customers and make them happy, and are therefore quite sensitive to your feedback.
HOW SHOULD YOU CALL?
WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY?
Ask to speak to a branch manager if possible. The exact messaging is up to you, but some good starting points you can use are:
"I am increasingly worried about climate change and what that will mean for myself and my family."
"What can you tell me about the steps this bank is taking to address my climate change concerns?"
- "I am planning to switch my finances on April 22nd (Earth Day) to the bank with the most sustainable investment policies."
Give your bank a deadline of April 22 (Earth Day) 2021. If your bank does clean up their act, you won’t have to actually moving your money. If they fail to act, send them a reminder and then make a plan to switch banks on a day that works for you.
Once you call, consider letting us know how it went! Take a minute to fill out our BankSwitch Appointment Tracker. We're capturing the number of calls being made as a way to chart progress.
It's time to put Canadian banks on notice and stop fossil fuel projects at their source. Let's do this together!
RESOURCES & DOWNLOADS
BankSwitch - from Climate Pledge Collective - The official BankSwitch campaign webpage with helpful information & talking points on how to pressure your bank to commit to positive change.
Eviction Notices - Download & print these 8.5 x 11" Eviction Notices and tape to bank doors in your neighbourhood. Let them know that concerned customers are planning to move their money if the banks don't make major changes.
Click to Tweet Links - Use these ready-made Tweets with both generic & bank-specific content. Use the handy Click to Tweet links to get them set up even quicker.
Banking on Climate Change: Fossil Fuel Climate Report 2020 - Rainforest Action Network's 2020 report on Banks financing Climate Change with hard facts on the vast amount of money each bank has been pumping into fossil fuel projects.