On April 25th 2023, shareholders will be gathering for Citi’s annual general meeting to vote on the bank’s direction for the upcoming year.
This year, we urge you to support proposals 8 & 9.
We’re calling on shareholders to vote for the resolution filed by Harrington, calling on Citi to adopt a policy for a time-bound phase-out of financing for new fossil fuel exploration and development.
Investors should also support the resolution filed by Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, calling for transparency on Indigenous rights within Citi’s human rights policies.
Questions continue on the board’s ability to turn its fortunes around, following the global financial crisis in the late 2000s when it got the largest bailout in US history. Citi’s chronic underperformance continues to harm investors’ pockets, with its share price dwindling by 26% over the past three years.
Proposal 8 – Indigenous rights
Citi has repeatedly invested in companies whose projects are devastating for Indigenous groups and which expose the bank to material risks such as litigation, fines, project delays or cancellations, and reputational damage. During the upcoming annual general meeting, Indigenous leaders whose communities are impacted by Citi’s fossil fuel funding will ask questions. We urge you to listen to them carefully.
- The bank has provided $5 billion to Enbridge, which is building the controversial Line 3 and Line 5 tar sands pipeline reroutes. Indigenous leaders have described the pipeline as a ‘cultural genocide’. Although Citi does not provide project-specific financing for these projects, its general corporate funding to Enridge is enabling the company to build these pipelines.
- Enbridge projects have consistently been tied to violation of Indigenous Rights. Investors lack disclosure on the effectiveness of Citi’s engagement with Enbridge and how Citi’s Environmental and Social Risk Management Policy has managed risks associated with financing companies like Enbridge.
- Citi is the biggest foreign funder of state-run oil companies in the Amazon, providing an estimated $42 billion in open or recently matured deals. Some of these deals are linked to pollution, corruption and violation of Indigenous rights.
- Last year, Indigenous communities told Citi how its investments supporting oil drilling activities in the Amazon have destroyed the ecosystems they’ve spent centuries protecting.
- Citi provided loans to oil and gas firm GeoPark, whose Amazon projects have been linked to oil spills, terrorist groups and are opposed by Indigenous groups.
Proposal 9 – climate change
In 2021, Citi committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and in 2022 it set absolute emissions targets. Citi is a founding member of the Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA).
Despite these moves on climate Citi is failing to take necessary follow-up action and is actively funding fossil fuel expansion which will not meet energy security needs now but instead will last many decades:
- Citi is still investing in companies building new oil and gas projects and is the second biggest funder of fossil fuels in the world, pumping $285 billion into the sector between 2016-2021.
- Citi is still advising companies building new fossil fuel projects.
- Citi’s coal policy still allows it to lend to existing clients that are project developers. The bank is the biggest funder of coal apart from Chinese banks.
- Citi says its climate strategy is about “investment rather than divestment” and that it wants to help its clients “finance their transition”. Yet Citi is a major backer of companies such as Exxon and BP whose transition plans are being criticized after they announced major scale-backs in 2023.
- Citi says it wants to avoid a “ disorderly transition” that threatens energy security and jobs. But Citi is investing in companies that are building new projects which will last 30-40 years.
Citi continues to walk a tightrope that will cause further financial harm to its shareholders through the reputational and systemic risks posed by the climate crisis. If Citi continues to support the fossil fuel industry, shareholders can expect to experience financial losses from the chronic damage caused by stranded assets, increasing credit and liquidity risk, on top of reputational harm.
Shareholders, it’s time to tell Citi that its current strategy is outdated, and ask them to support a fossil fuel-free future.
We urge you to support the above two resolutions to ensure Citi is set on the right track to addressing these risks and financial harm.
This year, vote in FAVOR of:
- Proposal 8: Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace shareholder resolution, calling for Citi to publish a report detailing the effectiveness of Citi’s policies, practices, and performance indicators in respecting internationally-recognized human rights standards for Indigenous Peoples’ rights in its existing and proposed general corporate and project financing.
- Proposal 9: Harrington’s shareholder resolution for Citi to adopt a policy for a time-bound phase-out of lending and underwriting of new fossil fuel exploration and development.