The Big Banks’ Green Bafflegab
Look behind their pro-climate ads and do what they do. Follow the money.
There must be a basement somewhere on Bay Street full of English majors. Every day they churn out great reams of verbiage about “environmental, social and governance strategy” and fill annual reports with a dozen different ways to say that the big five Canadian banks care about the environment.
Except the numbers tell a different story, and if you want to know the truth, then the old adage “follow the money” will steer you in the right direction, passing quickly through all the green bafflegab and arriving at the conclusion that the banks are sacrificing our climate to make a profit.
The latest news is a recent pledge by TD to achieve a “target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions associated with our operations and financing activities by 2050,” trumpeting that it’s the first Canadian bank to do so. Sounds good, yes?
But dig deeper and there’s no mention that since the Paris Agreement TD has financed more than C$135 billion in fossil fuel projects, the eighth largest amount out of all the banks on the planet. What will TD’s net-zero pledge do to alter this climate-killing practice? It doesn’t say. But judging from the collective shrug from the oil patch, probably not much.
What TD does say is that it will “work closely with clients” rather than decide that certain clients probably shouldn’t be clients. Notably, Suncor, Cenovus and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. all also have 2050 net-zero pledges, so presumably TD will continue to finance them, whose products rapidly fill our atmosphere with “green” carbon while our life-support systems fail.
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