Greenpeace highlights Desjardins’ inconsistent measures in tackling climate change

Desjardins maintains the 145-million-dollar loan granted to Kinder Morgan

Press release - December 6, 2017
December 6th, 2017 (Montreal) – Today, the Desjardins Group announced new “concrete measures to fight climate change”, including new criteria for their business decisions. The Group however chose to keep the $145 million in credit provided for Kinder Morgan’s tar sands pipeline project. In reaction to the announcement, Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, said:

December 6th, 2017 (Montreal) – Today, the Desjardins Group announced new “concrete measures to fight climate change”, including new criteria for their business decisions. The Group however chose to keep the $145 million in credit provided for Kinder Morgan’s tar sands pipeline project. In reaction to the announcement, Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, said:

“We welcome, with reservations, Desjardins’ decision to apply new criteria that take environmental, social and governance factors into consideration. These criteria cannot be regarded as satisfactory unless Desjardins excludes all support to projects which are inconsistent with the Paris Agreement, including tar sands pipelines. Furthermore, Desjardins must commit to honour the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)  and respect their right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).

It is important that Desjardins not only applies its new criteria to future business decisions, but also to reassess ongoing finances and investments. Otherwise, Desjardins will find itself falling behind other financial institutions which have already divested from tar sands pipelines projects.

Although today’s announcement shows some important progress, such as investments in renewable energy projects, Desjardins failed to act consistently. By maintaining the $145 million in project financing for Kinder Morgan’s tar sands pipeline project, the Desjardins Group is turning its back to First Nations who oppose the project and is undermining the fight against climate change. No financial institution can ignore the fact that pipeline projects carry high risks for their reputation and returns on the one hand, and for human rights, climate and water on the other. We stand with First Nations and communities who will continue to oppose tar sands pipeline projects, in the face of oil companies and financial institutions backing them.”

Greenpeace and Oil Change International recently released a report warning of major banks’ exposure to financial and reputational damage due to their financing of tar sands pipelines. In contrast to Desjardins, US Bank backed away from funding tar sands projects; French bank BNP Paribas said it “will no longer do business with companies whose principal business activity is the exploration, production, distribution, marketing or trading of oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands”; Dutch bank ING confirmed that its oil sands policy excludes financing tar sands pipelines; and Sweden’s largest pension fund, AP7, announced that it will divest from TransCanada on the grounds that its proposed pipelines in Canada and the US were incompatible with the Paris Agreement.

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For more information, please contact :

Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy campaigner, Greenpeace Canada,

, 514.594.1221

Note to editors :

In June, Desjardins granted a 145-million-dollar loan to Kinder Morgan to finance the Trans Mountain pipeline project despite the fact that the oil company failed to obtain the prior consent of the First Nations communities directly affected by this project. The are more than 20 ongoing legal cases against the Trans Mountain project  and many of these cases are lead by First Nations. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, “considering only the 590,000 barrels per day capacity added by the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, the upstream GHG emissions could range from 13 to 17 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.”