Bank Of America states it would not directly finance oil or gas exploration or production activities in the Arctic.
For decades, Trillium has opposed Arctic drilling for oil and gas. Not only would it accelerate climate change, but it is opposed by the Gwich’in people who have lived in the region for thousands of years and depend on the health of the ecosystem for their way of life.
A critical link in the chain of any effort to drill in the Arctic is the banks that may finance the exploration and production. The bank support or rejection are also important signals from the business community and possible indication of a loss of social licence. Which is why Trillium pressed Bank of America for more than a year to commit to no Arctic drilling financing. In June, we organized over $1 trillion in assets to petition Bank of America to make this commitment. And following a prolonged dialogue, Trillium filed a shareholder proposal in October asking the company how it planned to address the risks associated with funding Arctic drilling.
Faced with a combination of a shareholder proposal, vocal public engagement from the Gwich’in people, and August polling showing that about two in three voters oppose moves to open the Arctic Refuge to drilling, the bank announced in late November that it would not directly finance oil or gas exploration or production activities in the Arctic.
We commend Bank of America for taking this important step which is consistent with strong ESG policies that all banks should adopt. Finally, this is an important symbolic moment that conveys the lack of social license for Arctic drilling.