Due to its expansive ownership stakes in Canadian and US-based oil, gas and coal companies, and its extensive financing of large-scale carbon extraction projects, TD Bank makes it on our list as a top enabler of the fossil fuel industry.
|Royal Bank of Canada||CA||7.13|
|Bank of Nova Scotia||CA||3.38|
|Bank of Montreal||CA||3.37|
|Toronto-Dominion Bank (self-owned)||CA||3.22|
|Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce||CA||2.72|
|Power Corporation of Canada||CA||2.55|
|Vanguard Group Inc.||US||2.49|
|Bank of America Corp.||US||1.34|
|Capital Group Co. Inc.||US||1.34|
|Beutel, Goodman & Co.||CA||1.27|
|Province of Québec||CA||1.19|
|Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group Ltd.||CA||1.12|
Included are all shareholdings of 1% and greater. Source: Orbis Database, October 2018.
TD’s investments illustrate its vested interests in fossil fuel development. The table below shows TD’s top 15 shareholdings in fossil fuel companies, through its funds.
TD Top holdings in fossil fuel companies
|Cenovus Energy Inc.||CA||3.80|
|Capital Power Corp.||CA||3.61|
|Just Energy Group Inc.||CA||2.97|
|Vermilion Energy Inc.||CA||2.84|
|Canadian Natural Resources Inc.||CA||2.76|
|ARC Resources Ltd.||CA||2.55|
|Pembina Pipeline Corp.||CA||2.49|
|Teck Resources Ltd.||CA||1.70|
Source: Orbis Database, February 2019.
As reflected in the above figures, the bank owns significant shares in some of the largest fossil fuel companies in Canada.
In addition to ownership shares, TD also finances large-scale carbon extraction projects. As of January 2016, the bank’s total exposure to oil and gas companies from outstanding loans and lending commitments (such as credit lines) was approximately C$16.2 billion.1 Financing of extreme energy projects (fracked oil and gas, oil sands and ultra deepwater) for 2015–2017 was US$17 billion.2 Of that total, $16.8 billion was invested in the oil sands (making it the second-largest financier of the sands in the world). These figures earned TD a D on the Banking on Climate Change 2018 “report card” for extreme oil projects, meaning that while TD has disclosed limited information on its extreme oil investments, it has no policies in place to reduce exposure to these industries.3 Despite these figures, the bank presents itself as a leader in environmentally responsible and sustainable investing. With the other big Canadian banks, TD is a signatory to the Equator Principles, a framework for determining whether potential business activities (e.g., financing) impinge on the protection of natural habitats or Indigenous rights. TD’s 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report. 4 states:
We identified climate change as a megatrend in 2009, and we made the choice to lead. We have taken a comprehensive long-term approach by embedding considerations of climate-change-related issues and opportunities throughout our entire business. Our strategy addresses both key elements of climate change: Mitigation and Adaptation.
TD’s strategy on climate supports an “all of the above” approach, claiming that it can simultaneously “support the growth of the North American economy while also promoting the transition to a lower-carbon world.”5 Unfortunately, its significant and sustained investments in the world’s most carbon-heavy fossil fuel sources belie this strategy.
TD has significant investments in the Dakota Access pipeline, a project imposed without the consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose traditional territory extends throughout the line’s route. Despite powerful protests at Standing Rock and widespread opposition to the pipeline, three Canadian banks are among the financial institutions backing the pipeline. TD Securities, a subsidiary of TD, is the project’s largest Canadian financier, and the seventh-largest bank financier worldwide with its financing commitment of $360 million.6 As pipeline opponents occupying Sioux territory to prevent the line’s construction became the target of violence from US military and private security contractors, protests erupted against TD in Toronto, with activists calling on TD’s clients to withdraw their accounts on humanitarian grounds.7
TD is one of two banks that has agreed to fund the Trans Mountain pipeline under its new ownership by the Canadian government. Along with RBC, TD has committed to financing over C$1 billion to the project through Export Development Canada—a Crown corporation that is helping to facilitate the project’s funding.8 For more details on the Trans Mountain pipeline project, see the Royal Bank case study.
Learn more about Toronto-Dominion Bank at LittleSis.org
The intent of the Corporate Mapping Project database is to engage Canadians in a conversation about the role of the fossil fuel sector in our democracy, by “mapping” how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.