Montreal-based Desjardins Group, North America’s biggest association of credit unions, decided Friday to suspend new investments in energy pipelines, citing concerns about their environmental impact.
The mega-investment house, one of more than two dozen institutions that have helped finance Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, “temporarily suspended lending for such projects and may make the decision permanent” in September, Reuters reports, citing company spokesperson Jacques Bouchard. “That would likely mean Desjardins would not help finance other major Canadian pipelines projects, including TransCanada Corporation’s Keystone XL and Energy East and Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3,” the news agency notes.
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The announcement followed ING Group’s confirmation that it won’t directly finance any of the four pipelines.
“This decision shows that astute financial institutions are becoming increasingly wary of financing fossil fuel projects,” said Greenpeace Canada Climate and Energy Campaigner Patrick Bonin in Montreal.
“Tar sands pipelines pose major risks, whether you are concerned about profits, human rights, the environment, or all three. Desjardins has made the right decision by announcing a moratorium on investments in and financing of oil pipelines, and we look forward to it becoming permanent.”
A Greenpeace release Saturday encouraged Desjardins to “take the logical next steps: to sell its existing $145-million stake in the $5.5-billion credit facility Kinder Morgan recently obtained to fund the Trans Mountain expansion project, and to make their newly-announced moratorium permanent.”
Reuters reports that a coalition of more than 20 environmental and Indigenous groups, including Greenpeace, has been pushing the 28 institutions backing Trans Mountain to withdraw their support. Greenpeace noted that fossil financing by 37 of the world’s largest banks fell 22% last year.