These shareholder nuns who want to bend the Citigroup bank

(BFM Bourse) – It’s the season for general meetings. And who says general meetings… says filing of resolutions. For the American bank Citigroup, it is not very ordinary shareholders who have stepped up to the plate: nuns. The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Peace accuse the bank of having financed controversial projects of an oil company.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in the United States hold a small stake in Citigroup through their congregation. This allows them to be able to step up… And ask the bank to repent. In a resolution filed in March, they call on the board to issue a report highlighting “the effectiveness of Citigroup’s policies, practices and performance indicators in meeting human rights standards. recognized internationally for indigenous peoples”.

More specifically, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace accuse Citigroup of having financed, to the tune of 5 billion dollars, the controversial activities of Enbridge, an American oil company. Enbridge has been in the sights for several years of American and Canadian associations and citizens. Sister Susan Francois, treasurer of the congregation BFM Business contacted, details her grievances: “Enbridge is responsible for hundreds of oil spills in local communities.”

Indeed, in 2011, Enbridge pipelines spilled oil in Terrebonne, Canada. Except that at that time, the company never contacted the municipal administration to notify it. The municipality was notified two years later. In short, an ecological disaster that does not pass.

“Use our ecological power”

“Enbridge is also operating illegally on indigenous lands, violating permits, causing incalculable environmental damage. And none of this would have happened without Citigroup funding,” adds Sister Susan Francois. In the filed resolution, the nuns point out that two Enbridge-run pipelines, “Lines 3 and 5,” cross the Great Lakes region in what local communities call “an act of cultural genocide.”

According to FinancialTimes, Citigroup denies all charges. The bank has also urged its shareholders to vote against this resolution, the general meeting being held on April 25. But the nuns have reason to hope: last year, a resolution similar to the one they tabled was passed by a third of the shareholders. Sister Susan François boasted: “The Sisters are very persistent and we will come back until we know that we are on the right track as shareholders. (…) Pope Francis called the Church to hear the call of the Earth and the call of the poor and to use our ecological power to make a difference”. Citigroup, which BFM Business contacted, did not respond to the solicitations.

Charlotte Gaire for BFM Bourse

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