Scotiabank is no longer a member of the oil and gas pressure group CAPP |  CBC News

Scotiabank is no longer a member of the oil and gas pressure group CAPP | CBC News

Scotiabank has chosen not to renew its long-term membership in the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, a move that comes at a time when financial institutions face increased scrutiny for their role in contributing to climate change.

The Toronto-based bank — which confirmed in an email its exit from the CAPP but declined to provide a reason for the change — not only maintained an associate membership in the oil and gas lobby group, but for many years was also the lead sponsor of the annual Scotiabank CAPP Energy Symposium.

The latest symposium, held just last month, still has Scotiabank’s name attached to it, although CAPP spokesperson Jay Avril said that won’t be the case in the future.

“The CAPP agreement with Scotiabank for this year’s Energy Symposium has been finalized, and we are grateful for their support of Canada’s natural gas and oil industry,” Avril said in an email. “We have already started work on finalizing a partner for next year’s Energy Symposium.”

Oil companies, and the banks that provide them with financing, have come under increased scrutiny as concern about climate change grows. (Kyle Bucks/CBC)

Scotiabank – which was the only one of Canada’s Big Five banks to have CAPP membership – is a member of several industry and business associations in Canada and globally. The Bank says on its website that while belonging to these groups “does not imply endorsement of public positions or statements,” the Bank frequently reviews its membership “to ensure consistency with the policy positions that the Bank holds.”

Its exit from the CAPP comes at a time when financial institutions are under increasing global pressure to account for their role in contributing to climate change as financiers of fossil fuel companies.

Scotiabank itself came under fire last month at its annual general meeting, with shareholders and environmental groups slamming the founding for not moving fast enough on the climate front. While the company has made several commitments related to climate change, including setting initial targets for achieving net zero emissions by 2050, a contributor to the meeting noted that Scotiabank’s funding for fossil fuels increased 87 percent to $30 billion in 2021.

According to a report by Rainforest Action Network – a San Francisco-based environmental group – Scotiabank is the ninth largest bank globally for the fossil fuel sector (Royal Bank of Canada, the only other Canadian bank to make the list, ranks fifth), providing more than $195 billion for oil and gas companies since the signing of the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

“Banks and insurance companies are increasingly in the crosshairs of climate activists, because they provide the financing that keeps the fossil fuel machine running. Canadian banks are among the worst in the world when it comes to fossil fuel financing,” Keith said. Stewart, chief energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada.

Stewart added that he was glad Scotiabank would no longer support CAPP through membership fees, but said his organization was calling on the bank to commit to moratorium on financing new oil and gas projects entirely.

Scotiabank is not the only notable CAPP exit in recent years. In 2020, French oil and gas giant Total pulled out of the lobby due to a “mismatch” between the organization’s public positions and those expressed in Total’s climate policies.

Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell is still a CAPP member, but previously urged the organization to support both the Paris climate agreement and carbon pricing to encourage lower greenhouse gas emissions.

UK-based BP plc also warned CAPP that the lobbying group’s policies are only “partially in line” with the oil company’s climate stances and ambitions to become a net-zero producer by 2050.

2022-05-11 18:39:26

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