Recently we filed a shareholder resolution at RBC asking management to update the banks’ “sustainable finance” practices to end greenwashing. The vote got 9%, which seems low but is actually a pretty good result for a resolution first time out, particularly given that the deck is stacked against any resolution passing.
But now what? RBC – and other banks – continue to make dodgy deals dressed up in green clothing that actually may be increasing emissions. How can we end this deception?
Part of the blame lies with the global bodies that set the framework for these deals, like the Loan Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA) and the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA). They set weak process-based guidelines for sustainable loans and bonds that need to be strengthened to stamp out greenwashing. So today we sent letters to both asking them to do that (you can see them here and here).
But ultimately this is a public policy issue, faith in our financial system, that needs to be addressed by regulators who have been too hands off in taming the wild west of “sustainable financing.” So we have also written to Canada’s regulator asking it to step in – you can see that letter here.