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.
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 Chaos, an annual report that ranks the world’s largest banks based on their fossil fuel financing. That same year, 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 and become the largest divestment movement in history. By 2022, more than $40 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 tribal rights, 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.
#DefundDAPL protests shut down bank offices, branches and headquarters across the country. Cities such as Seattle and San Francisco passed ordinances committing 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 leaders, raising awareness about the atrocities of the Dakota Access pipeline. They helped secure some major huge divestment wins.
The legacy of Standing Rock is colossal. One of the many ripple impacts of the Standing Rock resistance has been the rise of a new generation that understands that their money is being used to fund the climate crisis and environmental racism.
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 early 2017, twenty-six climate activists in Seattle were arrested for shutting down 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 shutting down bank branches in a dozen countries and fifty cities.
In 2018, the BlackRock’s Big Problem network launched a campaign on BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, currently managing around $10 trillion in assets. The campaign’s demands included for BlackRock to divest from fossil fuels, prioritize climate-friendly investment funds, and use their vast shares and influence to push companies to align with the Paris Agreement.
In 2019, the Insure our Future network launched one of the first campaigns 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 from fossil fuels 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 movement, Indigenous frontline leaders, campaign leads from efforts to hold banks, insurers and asset managers accountable, and representatives from some of the largest movement-building climate 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 corporations causing the climate crisis and abusing human rights.
In the years since we launched Stop the Money Pipeline, we’ve witnessed significant progress: Every major US bank has made a public commitment that they will align their business model with the Paris Agreement and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, has told the world he plans to make climate action a priority. Numerous US insurance companies have adopted policies restricting insurance for the coal and tar sands industries. President Biden announced the first-ever Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk. Since 2020, the fossil fuel divestment movement has grown from $14 trillion to $40 trillion.
But we have a very long way to go. As extreme weather events around the world grow worse, time is running out to address the climate crisis. And despite their climate promises, in 2021 US banks provided $64 billion in financing to the corporations most rapidly expanding their coal, oil, and gas operations ― directly ignoring the scientific consensus that such development is incompatible with the curtailing of catastrophic climate change.
Major US insurance companies, such as Chubb, Liberty Mutual and Travelers, continue to be some of the world’s largest insurers and investors in new fossil fuel infrastructure. Even worse, in the face of intense right-wing, fossil fuel-backed pressure, BlackRock has walked back some of its previous climate commitments.
The fight continues. And it is the fight of our lives. Since 2020, Stop the Money Pipeline has grown to be a network of more than 200 groups dedicated to fighting for climate, social and racial justice and holding the financiers of climate chaos accountable every step of the way. But our story has only just begun.
Facing off against the giants of Wall Street, we can only win if we build a movement powerful enough to hold the elite to account.
We hope you’ll join us in the fight.