AGMs are meant to be where CEOs boast about their profits and give each other high fives. But this was something different. Three of the biggest fossil fuel funders in the world had their AGMs today – and shareholders are sending a clear message that they need to sort it out.

Citi has lent around $42 billion dollars to the fossil fuel industry in the last year. And during the AGM, shareholders put forward a vote on if Citi should be cutting back to line up with what the science says – no new oil and gas extraction of any kind to avoid the worst of the climate crisis. 12.8% of shareholders voted in favour of stopping Citi investing in new fossil fuel projects. It might not sound like a lot, but votes that reach over 10% are considered a significant message to the bank.

The bigger win was in the indigenous rights vote. For Citi to stop investing in fossil fuels, they must stop destroying indigenous land. And Tara Houska, a land defender who is 9 months pregnant, put forward a vote asking Citi bosses, as parents, to stop trashing her community. She got a whopping 34%.

This doesn’t happen by accident. From confronting Citi board members at universities to crashing talks by Citi’s Head of Sustainability, activists are flooding Citi with demands from all angles to stop funding new fossil fuels. Tara Houska even called in and spoke powerfully at the AGM:

Thousands of us are coming together and moving mountains. And it wasn’t just Citi. Wells Fargo and Bank of America, 3rd and 4th worst fossil fuel funders in the world respectively, also had their AGMs. They had similar votes calling for no growth of fossil fuels. Vote was 11% in both! None of them wanted to do this.

These resolutions are a first of their kind. For the first time, they don’t talk about better measuring of fossil fuel funding risks. They talk about actively reducing the funding, turning off the money tap to new oil and gas.

“The fact that this first-of-its-kind effort gained as much support as it did should send a clear signal that the effort to push Wall Street to deal with its climate problem isn’t going anywhere. Big banks have a responsibility to address their massive contribution to the climate crisis and protect their shareholders from climate risk by aligning their policies with their own net-zero commitments and ending support for fossil fuel expansion. The pressure on them to do so from shareholders and the public is only growing stronger.” – Sierra Club Fossil-Free Finance Campaign Representative Adele Shraiman