Queen’s University seeks student input for on-campus ATM services

CIBC, QBACC, and KYCA weigh in on sustainable banking options

CIBC has been the provider of ATM banking services on Queen’s Campus since 2013.

The University’s 10-year contract with CIBC expires this year.

As primary users of ATM services on campus, students will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the University’s ATM bank partnership.

The University released an online survey for students to share their input. CIBC currently has five ATMs distributed across Main and West campus.

Once survey data is collected, the University will begin a Request for Proposal process in alignment with the provincial requirements for banking system procurement.

In a statement to The Journal, Queen’s Backing Action on the Climate Crisis (QBACC) discouraged a renewal of the CIBC partnership based on the bank’s role in the increase of fossil fuel financing by Canada’s “big five” banks over the last two years.

“Queen’s should partner with institutions that align with its goals of sustainability and climate action, and partnering with CIBC is inconsistent with that [...] CIBC and other big banks in Canada continue to fund the climate crisis and put our future livelihoods at risk,” QBACC said.

According to QBACC, CIBC has spent over $90 billion USD on fossil fuel financing since the 2015 Paris Accord was signed. They invested $22 billion USD in 2021 alone.

QBACC said they believe students are passionate about climate justice, evident through demonstrations at rallies and student expectations for Queen’s to set “ambitious” climate goals.

“Only partnering with one financial institution to service all of the campus ATMs limits student choice and accessibility,” QBACC added.

QBACC suggested the University should consider partnering with a not-for-profit, member-owned credit union, such as Kingston Community Credit Union, a community-owned cooperative in alliance with Sustainable Kingston.

“Queen’s must fully commit to policies and practices that will ensure that we meet our climate targets and will contribute to a more livable future,” QBACC said.

Kingston Youth Climate Action (KYCA) agreed that partnering with an institution with a commitment to climate goals, such as a local credit union, could be a “better” alternative.

“Working with CIBC is inconsistent with Queen’s emissions reduction goals because CIBC has invested billions of dollars in the fossil fuel industry,” KYCA said in a statement to The Journal.

“If Queen’s is serious about stopping climate change, they must use a climate justice lens when making any decisions about their partnerships and finances.”

According to Nina Ranawana, CIBC senior consultant of public affairs, CIBC is a leader in financing the renewable energy sector across North America.

“Motivated by our drive to accelerate climate action, it’s our ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our operational and financing activities by 2050,” Ranawana said in a statement to The Journal.

Ranawana said CIBC is “committed” to playing a part in transitioning to a low carbon future.

CIBC is reportedly looking to reduce emissions and discover new opportunities surrounding “innovative” services and products to address climate change.

According to Ranawana, CIBC is mobilizing spending on sustainable finance initiatives with a goal of $300 billion in investments in climate technologies by 2030. It also announced partnerships in climate technology and energy transition funds totalling $100 million.

Amaiya Walters, AMS social issues commissioner, and Emily Rolph, AMS commissioner of environment and sustainability, acknowledged the negative implications of fossil fuels on the environment in a statement to The Journal.

As a part of ongoing consultation, the AMS will assign a new representative to the University Stakeholder Committee. They acknowledged the importance of meeting student accessibility needs in a statement to The Journal.

“It is our belief that ATMs on campus should be affordable, reputable, and able to serve all students regardless of their financial institution. Going forward, we hope to seek student input to gain a better understanding of where priorities lie in terms of financial services on campus.”

Students can use the University’s online survey to input their opinions on the ATM banking systems available on campus.

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