Costco members, shareholders, and climate activists will today (8.30am PT January 17th) deliver a petition signed by 40,000 people to the new Costco CEO ahead of its annual shareholders meeting, calling on Costco to drop Citi as its credit card issuer because of the bank’s poor climate record, as new data show spike in Costco’s carbon cash footprint.


Costco to receive climate petition over links to Citi as new data shows spike in Costco’s carbon cash footprint

Costco shoppers, shareholders and climate activists will today (January 17) deliver a petition signed by 40,000 people to Costco’s CEO ahead of its annual shareholders meeting, calling on the retailer to drop Citi as its credit card issuer because of the bank’s poor climate record.

The petition, whose signatories includes 18,000 Costco members, will be delivered in a giant card along with a cake to new CEO Ron Vachris with a party held outside Costco headquarters in Issaquah, Washington. The push to pressure Costco to drop Citi is being supported by 12 organizations across the US including Third Act, Stop the Money Pipeline, Hip Hop Caucus and Stand.Earth.

The event will be livestreamed here and photos and video will be available afterwards here.

The event in Issaquah comes as new data shows Costco’s carbon footprint from its cash deposits – where banks get to use its money to fund oil, gas, and coal – is equivalent to 85.3% of Costco’s total operational carbon emission (all the energy and gas used for its warehouses, deliveries, capital goods, employee travel and commuting, and more). Costco’s carbon cash footprint is equivalent to 10.1 gas-fired power plants operating for one year.*

Costco management has refused to meet the groups pushing for Costco to drop Citi and stated in an email that the retailer “plans to honor” its contract with Citi, despite the bank’s $332 billion funding of oil, gas and coal since 2016.

Costco’s board has been forced to bend on climate previously. In 2022, almost 70% of shareholders backed a proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions with Costco agreeing later that year to a plan.

Citi has a dismal record on climate. It is the second biggest funder of fossil fuels in the world and is a major backer of oil, gas and coal companies in the Amazon and Africa. Its biggest fossil fuel client is Exxon Mobil, receiving over $15 billion from the bank, and Citi was lead advisor on the Exxon-Pioneer merger in October, which will see the company double down on oil production. Citi has angered its own shareholders over its funding of companies and projects opposed by Indigenous land owners. Despite the global consensus to transition away from fossil fuels, Citi continues to fund new projects. 

The petition was launched in September and quickly attracted thousands of signatures. Signatures were also gathered at more than 40 Costco stores around the country, local farmers markets, libraries, and elsewhere. Thousands have also written to Costco’s customer service raising concerns about the link with Citi.

Bill McKibben co-founder of Third Act, a group for older activists, said:

“Costco is that rarest of things, a brand that people trust and admire, for a bevy of good reasons. But its partnership with Citi endangers that, since as the temperature soars more and more people are making the link to the bank that’s one of the biggest fossil fuel funders on earth.”

Chris Goelz, who owns shares in Costco and will attend the petition delivery, said:

“I bought Costco shares because I thought it was a good investment and that Costco was trying to ‘do the right thing’ for the climate.  But its relationship with Citi, which is funding the continued build-out of the oil industry’s fossil fuel infrastructure, is antithetical to Costco’s climate commitments. The Board needs to take immediate steps to end its relationship with Citi.”

Anne Shields, a Costco shopper and member of Third Act, said:

“I’ve been a Costco shopper for many years but I don’t use their co-branded Citi card because I don’t want my money going to a bank that funds so many oil and gas projects. I want to do everything I can to help my sons and my grandchildren inherit a livable planet. That’s why I’m here today and call upon the CEO and board to drop Citi and find a better banking partner.”  

Rev Lennox Yearwood Jr., President & CEO of Hip Hop Caucus, said: 

“Communities are coming together to fight climate change because it is already destroying their homes, livelihoods and their lives. Costco’s highly-engaged customer base is not only impacted but has a core demographic that is known to care about climate change. Costco can do the right thing and support these communities by saying no to a bank like Citi, which is a major funder of oil, gas and coal, and which forces these industries on regions where there are predominantly people of color.” 

Other organizations supporting the push for Costco to drop Citi include Climate Defenders, New York Communities for Change, Green America, Oil & Gas Action Network, Friends of the Earth Action and Climate Action California.

*Data analysis done by Topo Finance, which co-authored the Carbon Bankroll report.