This past Earth Day, April 22nd, 2024, our organization and a diverse coalition including dozens of environmental justice, Indigenous rights, and community organizations hosted a groundbreaking public hearing to hold Citigroup accountable for its role in perpetuating environmental racism and fueling the climate crisis. The daylong event, titled “The People vs. Citi: Confronting Citigroup’s Environmental Racism,” was just the beginning of our ongoing campaign to pressure Wall Street banks to end their destructive financing of fossil fuel projects that disproportionately harm marginalized communities.


Divestment Organizer, Marcello Federico, spoke on behalf of the Indigenous Environmental Network at this hearing about the importance of an Indigenous Just Transition away from harmful extraction of Mother Earth to a feminist, regenerative economy. Even as we inhabit Mother Earth as 6% of the human population, Indigenous peoples around the world protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity. We’re put on the frontlines of new and existing fossil fuel projects all the time, but we fight back and are able to halt 25% of potential emissions from fossil fuel projects. As Indigenous Peoples, it is time to prioritize the land and the people over profit, and it is time for these banks to listen to us.


We hosted this hearing because we believe it’s time for Citigroup to pay it forward. Since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, Citigroup has poured at least $332 billion into the fossil fuel industry, more than any other major U.S. bank. Profit drives this reckless financing with intentional disregard for Mother Earth and all life, enabling the expansion of fracking, oil pipelines, and petrochemical facilities in Indigenous territories, Black neighborhoods, and low-income communities across the country and around the world. From Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” to the lands of the Wet’suwet’en people in British Columbia, Citigroup’s investments have violated human rights, desecrated ancestral lands, and sentenced entire communities to a future of toxic pollution and climate chaos. Leaders from these communities were present at the hearing to shed light on the struggles they face, and demand Citibank pay for the damages they’ve caused.


It’s time for Citigroup to stop bankrolling environmental racism and start respecting our rights to free, prior informed consent of the communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction. That’s why we brought together an incredible lineup of frontline leaders, Indigenous rights activists, and climate experts to share their stories, analyses, and demands at our public hearing. Through our testimonies, we aim to build an irrefutable case that Citigroup’s predatory lending practices are not only morally bankrupt but also incompatible with a livable future on this planet.

But we’re not just here to bear witness to Citigroup’s destruction. We’re here to demand bold action and real change. At the hearing, our coalition presented Citigroup with a set of six non-negotiable demands:


  1. Immediately stop financing new and expanding coal, oil, and gas projects and any companies expanding fossil fuels.
  2. Rapidly phase out all fossil fuel financing and demonstrate year-on-year reductions in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
  3. Ensure clients respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including the right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
  4. End financing for projects or companies that violate human rights, especially for Indigenous, Black, low-income and communities of color.
  5. Adopt sectoral and regional exclusion policies for coal, LNG, Arctic, Gulf South, and offshore/ultra-deep drilling.
  6. Scale up investments in renewables and climate solutions in line with a just transition.


These demands are not simply suggestions, they are moral imperatives and prerequisites for a just transition to a sustainable future. And they are backed by the growing power of our movement. Our hearing kicked off several weeks of mass mobilizations and direct actions targeting Citigroup’s headquarters in New York City, part of a broader “Summer of Heat” campaign that will turn up the pressure on Wall Street to stop funding climate destruction.


We know that confronting a financial giant like Citigroup won’t be easy. But we also know that the stakes could not be higher. With each passing day, the climate emergency spirals further out of control, and the communities least responsible for the crisis suffer the most. We cannot afford to wait for Citigroup to grow a conscience. We must force the banks to change through our collective power and unshakable passion for justice on a livable planet.


That’s where you come in! Whether you can attend an in-person campaign event or support our campaign via social media, your presence and solidarity will send a powerful message that the era of big banks profiting off of pollution and injustice is coming to an end. Together, we can hold Citigroup accountable and build a world where all communities can thrive in the face of the climate crisis.

Join our fight! RSVP here to be part of our movement and help us confront Citigroup’s environmental racism together! Keep an eye on IEN’s social media as we share out more from this campaign.

Watch: People Vs. Citi hearing recording on Youtube



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