Citigroup announces ban on financing Arctic drilling

Citigroup now joins Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, along with several global banks to end funding oil and gas exploration in the Arctic.

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Image Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

The multinational investment bank is the latest United States’ bank to update its energy policy to rule out funding oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. Citigroup now joins Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, along with several global banks.

The bank’s new policy rules out “new exploration, development and productions projects in the Arctic, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” a press release stated. Under the new energy policy, Citigroup will no longer fund new thermal coal mines or coal-fired power plants across the nations. Instead, the bank will set “a timeline for ending financing of coal mining companies” and ruled out funding the expansion of these coal-based mines and plants, a press release stated.

In a statement in the bank’s Environmental and Social Policy Framework, Citigroup said:

“Citi’s Environmental and Social Policy Framework is global and applies to all of our businesses in nearly 100 countries. We believe that working to promote sustainability — both for our firm and our clients — is good business practice. This belief, reflected in our dedication to financing business opportunities with positive environmental and social impacts, actively mitigating environmental and social risks associated with client transactions, reducing our operational footprint, and setting similar expectations for our suppliers, is aligned with and contributes to Citi’s goal to deliver the best outcomes for our clients by providing financial solutions that are both innovative and meet our responsibilities to people and the planet.”

While Citigroup did rule out financing Arctic drilling, it made no mention of funding for fracking or tar sands, a press release stated.

“The dominoes continue to fall, and now four of the top six American banks have recognized that Arctic drilling is a toxic investment to be avoided,” Ben Cushing, Sierra Club campaign representative, said. “Drilling in the Arctic Refuge would be a disaster for wildlife, the climate, and the human rights of the Gwich’in Nation, and any company associated with this destruction will suffer a massive public backlash and long-lasting damage to their reputation. Banks like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America should act immediately to follow along with their peers or risk getting left behind.” 

Bank of America and Morgan Stanely are two of the remaining big banks in the United States to take a stance on Arctic drilling.

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