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Canada’s Biggest Bank Faces Shareholder Vote on Climate Standards

The RBC resolution is set to focus on standards for sustainability-linked debt

The Royal Bank of Canada in the financial district of Toronto.

The Royal Bank of Canada in the financial district of Toronto.

Photographer: Stephanie Foden/Bloomberg

Royal Bank of Canada shareholders will vote on whether the bank should tighten its standards for sustainable finance, action inspired by a 2021 pipeline financing deal that was criticized for greenwashing and general concern over lax standards for so-called sustainability-linked debt.

Investors for Paris Compliance, a shareholder advocacy group set up last year to hold Canadian companies accountable for their net zero commitments, filed a resolution calling on Canada’s biggest bank to “update its criteria for ‘sustainable finance.’” Debt with that label should “preclude fossil fuel activity and projects facing significant opposition from indigenous peoples,” the group said.