Scotiabank no longer a member of oil and gas lobby 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 are facing increasing scrutiny for their role in contributing to climate change.

The Toronto-based bank – which in an email confirmed its withdrawal from CAPP but refused to give a reason for the change – not only had an associate membership in the oil and gas lobby group, but was for many years also the title sponsor of the annual Scotiabank CAPP Energy Symposium.

The latest symposium, held just last month, still had Scotiabank’s name attached to it, although CAPP spokesman Jay Averill said that would not be the case in the future.

“CAPP’s agreement with Scotiabank on the Energy Symposium was completed this year and we are grateful for their support of Canada’s natural gas and oil industry,” Averill said in an email. “We have already begun work on completing a partner for next year’s Energy Symposium.”

The oil companies, and the banks that provide them with financing, have come under greater scrutiny as concerns about climate change grow. (Kyle Bakx / CBC)

Scotiabank – which was the only one of Canada’s five major banks to have a membership in CAPP – is a member of many industry and business associations in Canada and globally. On its website, the bank states that although its affiliation with these groups “does not constitute support for positions or public statements”, the bank often reviews its memberships “to ensure consistency with the bank’s public positions.”

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

Scotiabank itself came under fire only last month at its annual general meeting, when shareholders and environmental groups criticized the institution for not going fast enough on the climate front. While the company has made a number of climate change commitments, including setting initial targets for achieving net zero emissions by 2050, a shareholder pointed out at the meeting that Scotiabank’s financing of fossil fuels increased by 87 percent to $ 30 billion by 2021.

According to a report by The Rainforest Action Network – a San Francisco-based environmental group – Scotiabank is the ninth largest lender globally to the fossil fuel sector (Royal Bank of Canada, the only other Canadian bank on the list, ranks fifth). and has given more than $ 195 billion to oil and gas companies since the signing of the UN climate agreement in Paris in 2015.

“Banks and insurance companies are increasingly falling into the crosshairs of climate activists, as they provide the funding that keeps the fossil fuel machine running. And Canadian banks are some of the worst in the world when it comes to funding fossil fuels,” said Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada.

Stewart added that he was pleased that Scotiabank would no longer support CAPP through membership fees, but said his organization was urging the bank to commit to completely stopping financing new oil and gas projects.

Scotiabank is not the only high-profile exit from CAPP in recent years. In 2020, the French oil and gas giant Total jumped out of the lobby group, citing a “mismatch” between the organization’s public positions and those expressed in Total’s climate policy.

The global energy giant Royal Dutch Shell is still a member of the CAPP, but has previously called on the organization to support both the Paris climate agreement and the pricing of coal to encourage reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

UK-based BP plc has also warned CAPP that the lobby group’s policy is only “partially in line” with the oil company’s own climate positions and its ambitions to become a zero producer by 2050.

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