U of C students protest against SU’s affiliation with RBC
By Sheroog Kubur, March 4 2023—
On March 2 protestors gathered outside of the Mac Hall RBC brand to protest against the Students’ Union’s affiliation with fossil fuel investment.
“The Students’ Union works with RBC — they control the Mac Hall building and the leases. By having an RBC here they are indirectly supporting RBC fossil fuel financing,” said Keegan Colwell, the head organizer of the protest. “Given their mandate for student welfare, wellbeing and sustainability in general, we think it is in everyone’s best interest for them to cut ties with the RBC or at least publicly condemn their investment in financing fossil fuels.”
RBC is currently the largest financier of fossil fuels in Canada and is the fifth largest in the world. Between 2016 and 2021, RBC invested $201 billion to fossil fuel companies according to Rainforest Action Network’s 2021 report.
“We live in the heart of the oil and gas industry and movements like this aren’t putting the onus on individual people who often are not directly responsible for the climate crisis — they can’t make all the ethical decisions to be able to prevent it,” Colwell said.
The protest was held by Banking On A Better Future and Divestment U of C, two organizations encouraging institutions to divest away from fossil fuels to secure a sustainable future. Divesting is moving money and stocks away from fossil fuels.
Divest U of C currently has a petition collecting signatures asking the SU to take accountability on their commitment to student wellbeing and condemn RBC and to themselves divest away from fossil fuels. They also plan to hold an event closer to the RBC Annual Meeting of Common Shareholders in April.