It’s been quite the year for all of us at Stop the Money Pipeline. On the one hand, the climate crisis has only escalated ― 2021 was yet another year of historic wildfires, floods, droughts and hurricanes across the world. Yet, on the other hand, the climate movement continues to grow in power and influence. Nowhere is this more true than in the movement of everyday people pushing financial institutions to start treating climate change as the crisis it is.
In 2021, we counted more than six hundred protest actions at the branches, offices and headquarters of banks, insurance companies and asset managers. From the Global HQs of Citibank, Wells Fargo and BlackRock being shut down by protests in San Francisco and New York to activists picketing outside Chase branches in Evanston, Providence and Albuquerque, there has never been more activism to hold financial institutions accountable for their role in the climate crisis.
Although there is a tremendous amount of work still to be done, we have also started to see this relentless activism begin to pay off this year: US Banks pledged trillions to projects that mitigate climate change; President Biden issued a first-of-its-kind Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk; fossil fuel divestment commitments reached $39 trillion in assets.
The challenge ahead of us is great. US financial institutions continue to funnel tens of billions every year to corporations hellbent on destroying our planet and we are fast running out of time to avert a climate apocalypse. But the relentless activism of all of you gives us hope.
Here’s where our amazing and growing movement took us this year…
Policy Wins & Forward Steps
Financial institutions ― from banks to asset managers; insurers to pension funds ― remain a million miles away from where they need to be. And yet, we also witnessed some significant developments in 2021. Some of the most notable policy developments of the past year included…
- Citibank passes new coal policy, exiting companies that are expanding coal power
- Chase strengthens deforestation policy
- Argo, Cincinnati Global, Lancashire, SCOR rule out insurance for Trans Mountain expansion
- Chubb, the Hartford and other insurers commit to exit the tar sands sector
- Big 6 US banks & BlackRock sign up to the GFANZ & commit to achieving net zero by 2050
- Morgan Stanley release 2030 climate targets
- Liberty Mutual halts plans to build a coal mine in Australia
- US Banks pledge $5 trillion+ to projects that mitigate climate change
- Divestment commitments reach $39 Trillion President Biden issues an Executive Order on Climate Related Financial Risk
- The IEA confirms “no new investments” in fossil fuel development needed if goal is 1.5
- BNY Mellon commits to not fund Adani
- Axis Capital strengthens coal, tar sands, and Arctic policies
- 39 countries end public financing for fossil fuels abroad
- Hartford Insurance commits to invest $2.5 billion in “climate solutions
Through our BIPOC and Frontline Fund and Grassroots Action Fund, we were able to regrant nearly $320,000 to thirty frontline, BIPOC, and grassroots groups who are doing vital work to stop the money pipeline to climate chaos.
60+% of all grants went to BIPOC and Frontline-led organizations.
Check out out full list of grantees:
During the 2021 Shareholder Season, we released the first-ever Stop the Money Pipeline Shareholder Season Scorecard and graded the world’s largest asset managers on how they voted on key climate votes. We co-hosted the Wow (and How) of Shareholder Season webinar and generated thousands of emails and calls to State Treasurers and asset managers like BlackRock, putting direct pressure on some of the world’s largest investors to support climate resolutions and oppose to climate incompetent directors.
Defund Line 3
2021 was a year of incredible frontline resistance. In northern Minnesota more than 1,000 people were arrested for taking bold direct action to stop the construction of the Line 3 pipeline. Inspired by this bold Indigneous-led resistance, we helped to launch #DefundLine3, a campaign to push financial institutions to walk away from Enbridge, the company behind the toxic pipeline.
Inspired by the bold direct action on the frontlines, the campaign took off. There were more than three hundred actions in over one hundred cities, thirty-five states and nine countries. On May 7th alone, there were over one hundred actions. Working with the NDN Collective and long-time arts organizer, David Solnit, we were able to distribute more than 50,000 #DefundLine3 posters around the country. And thanks to our collective efforts bank executives received more than one million emails and tens of thousands of phone calls, demanding that they walk away from Line 3.
Unfortunately, the banks’ only response to our efforts was to provide Enbridge with a series of BS sustainability-linked loans. In the years ahead, we have our work cut out for us.
Lastly, we raised more than $40,000 for Line 3 frontline as part of the Defund Line 3 campaign
In the lead up to COP26, the most important climate talks since Paris, we launched Deadline Glasgow – Defund Climate Chaos, a people-powered campaign demanding that US financial institutions pass new climate policies by the start of the Glasgow climate talks. In less than three months, there were over two hundred protest actions at our targets and more than two thousand people made phone calls to the offices of Wall Street CEOs. Over 155,000 people signed our campaign petition which we delivered to hundreds of bank branches and offices across the country.
To close out the campaign, we partnered with the Future Coalition on the Fossil Free Future Day of Action, helping to organize over forty actions around the country, including the painting of a block-long mural outside BlackRock’s HQ in San Francisco, a mass action at the Federal Reserve and Citibank HQ in New York, and a powerful youth-led march in Seattle that took the message to the front doors of Chase and Liberty Mutual’s PNW HQs.
Policy & Fin-Reg Campaigning
In 2021, the STMP Policy Team advocated for climate champions to be given key positions in the Biden Administration; got fossil finance questions asked of the top US Bank CEOs by Reps. Tlaib, Ocasio Cortez, Garcia, and Pressley at Congressional Hearings; had several meetings with senior White House officials, playing an important role in the creation of the climate finance Executive Order; supported our coalition partners in launching the Fossil Free Fed campaign; and worked with Members of Congress to support the Fossil Fuel Finance Act.
“Bank of America, are you all familiar with the term ‘environmental racism?’” @RashidaTlaib absolutely GRILLS bank CEOs for funding fossil fuel companies that exacerbate environmental racism 🔥🔥🔥#StoptheMoneyPipeline pic.twitter.com/lO1NzOQiD8
— Stop the Money Pipeline (@StopMoneyPipe) May 27, 2021
Over the last few months, we have also done a lot of powerful internal work with our Policy Team, carrying out an in-depth strategic planning process for the team that has resulted in us restructuring the team and having clear goals and plans for the year ahead.
All of this was only possible thanks to all of our movement.
We especially want to thank:
Our Organizers: Jackie Fielder, Charlie Furman, Sarah Buehler, Sarah Lasoff, Khrizia Velacruz and Alec Connon
Our Steering Committee: Ben Cushing, Doug Norlen, Elana Sulakshana, Emily Southard, Erika Thi Patterson, Gracie Brett, Liz Butler, Mea Johnson, Matt Remle, Moira Birss, Ruth Breech, Tara Houska, and Thomas Lopez
Our Coalition Partners: At 187 coalition partners & counting, we don’t have enough space to name and thank every one of you. But you know who you are. We are deeply grateful to each and every one of you.
And all of you: We are only as powerful as the movement that stands beside us. Thank you to each and every one of you who has participated in an action this year, who has donated to support our work, who has sent an email or made a phone call, or joined an organizing team. It is only because of your support that we’re able to do the work that we do.