In early 2020, thirty-two organizations came together to form the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition. We stand on the shoulders of years of movement work pressuring financial institutions to act on climate.
In 2010, Rainforest Action Network launched the inaugural Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card ― a first-of-its-kind report on the financing of coal mining. The Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card has since evolved into Banking on Climate Change, an annual report that ranks the world’s largest banks based on how much damage to our climate they are responsible for. Also in 2010, RAN and network allies launched a campaign on Bank of America, pressuring it to stop funding mountaintop removal coal mining. Four years of dogged campaigning later: Bank of America committed to reducing their funding of coal mining.
In 2011, a small group of students at Syracuse University launched the country’s first fossil fuel divestment campaign. Over the next decade, the fossil fuel divestment movement would spread to hundreds of college campuses across the country and become the largest divestment movement in history. By the end of 2020, more than $14 trillion worth of investment capital had committed to some form of divestment from the fossil fuel industry.
In 2016, Indigneous Water Protectors and their allies joined together at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, defending the land, water and climate from the attacks of a state-backed fossil fuel company. From the frontlines of this historic resistance came a call to hold the funders of the Dakota Access Pipeline accountable.
Bank protests spread across the country. Cities such as Seattle and San Francisco passed ordinances commiting to cut ties with the banks funding the genocidal pipeline. A delegation of Indigenous women leaders traveled to Europe, met with bank executives and finance institutions, raising awareness about the atrocities of the Dakota Access pipeline, leading to major huge divestment wins.
The legacy of Standing Rock is colossal. Included in that legacy is the birth of a new generation that understands that their money is being used to fund the climate crisis and environmental racism, a new generation that understands that if we can stop the flow of money, we can stop the flow of oil.
As the Trump Administration took power, a growing number of people joined campaigns to hold Wall Street accountable for its role in the climate crisis. In 2017, twenty-six climate activists in Seattle were arrested for shutting down business at thirteen Chase branches, Rainforest Action Network launched a major campaign on JPMorgan Chase, and Mazaska Talks organized Divest the Globe ― a global mobilization that saw climate and Indigenous rights activists protesting outside of bank branches in a dozen countries and fifty cities.
In 2018, the BlackRock’s Big Problem campaign launched an effort pressuring BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, worth an estimated $7.8 trillion, to divest from fossil fuels, prioritize climate-friendly investment funds, and use their vast shares to push companies to align with the Paris Agreement.
In 2019, RAN and their allies in the Insure our Future network launched the country’s first sustained campaign on a major insurer of the fossil fuel industry, Liberty Mutual. Meanwhile, a new generation of college students have been continuing to pressure their universities to divest and organizations across the country continue to push state pension funds to join the fossil fuel divestment movement.
From this history, Stop the Money Pipeline was born.
In November 2019, forty of the leading strategists from fossil fuel finance campaigns in the United States came together for three days in the woods of Vermont. The gathering was attended by leaders of the youth climate strike movement, Indigenous frontline leaders and representatives from some of the largest environmental groups in the country.
Realizing that we are much more powerful when we are united, we launched Stop the Money Pipeline on January 10th, 2020 with a major action that saw eleven people arrested for occupying a Chase bank branch next door to the White House.
From the beginning our goal has been simple: Force the financial sector to stop doing business with the companies causing the climate crisis and abusing human rights.
Since we launched, we have witnessed significant progress: JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have made verbal commitments that they will align their business model with the Paris Agreement. BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, has told the world he plans to make climate action a priority. Four US insurance companies have adopted policies restricting coal insurance; two have done so for the tar sands. New York City has become the first major US pension fund to start divesting from fossil fuels. In 2020, a record number of colleges committed to fossil fuel divestment, students formed the College College Coalition, and organized Fossil Fuel Divestment Day, a major day of action on more than one hundred college campuses.
But we have a very long way to go. Time is running out, and the promises of companies like Chase and BlackRock are meaningless without actions that cut funding from the corporations driving the climate crisis, today.
Our story has only just begun. Since we launched in early 2020, Stop the Money Pipeline has grown to be a network of more than 130 organizations, which collectively have more than 7 million supporters.
Together, we are going to stop the money pipeline to climate chaos. Join us.