RBC faces questions on climate, Indigenous rights at annual general meeting

RBC faces questions at AGM

RBC chief executive Dave McKay faced a steady stream of questions about the bank's climate and Indigenous rights track record at its annual general meeting Thursday.

In response, McKay agreed on the need to evolve, but pointed to several of the bank's major policy rollouts since its last AGM on its journey to get there.

Those include an early outline of how it plans to work with clients to reduce their emissions or potentially cut them as clients if they don't respond, along with a commitment to triple renewable energy funding and other measures aimed to speed up the transition.

He says the bank also uses a detailed assessment to weigh social and environmental risks, including around Indigenous consent, but acknowledged the bank will have to adjust the framework over time.

Critics in the room said the bank is still not doing enough as it continues to lend billions of dollars to oil and gas companies, and its lending to pipeline projects that they say didn't have proper Indigenous consent have helped lead to environmental damage and major cost overruns.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, says he appreciates some of the bank's initiatives, but that as long as RBC continues to fund controversial projects that don't enjoy free prior and informed consent, there are going to be troubles.

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