(Bloomberg) -- A group of Hollywood A-listers including Mark Ruffalo and Joaquin Phoenix are calling on the Toronto International Film Festival to drop the Royal Bank of Canada as a sponsor, calling the firm “one of the most polluting companies” in Canada.
The open letter, signed by over 200 film industry professionals, asks TIFF Chief Executive Officer Cameron Bailey to discontinue the organization’s relationship with Canada’s biggest bank for the 2024 edition of the festival.
The letter, delivered four days before the 2023 event ends, cites the bank as a top financier of fossil fuels and says the lender has been denounced by some indigenous groups.
“If we are to play a meaningful role in countering the climate crisis and stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples, we cannot be blind to our industry’s role in shaping culture,” said the letter, which includes a list of signees as of Wednesday. “We cannot implicitly endorse RBC by allowing it to be the leading partner of Canadian film.”
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An RBC spokesperson, Stephanie Bannan, said the bank’s view is that “more action and at a faster pace is needed to address” climate change.
“We are actively engaging with our clients and partners to identify opportunities to do more in delivering on shared objectives,” Bannan said in an emailed comment. “We are also working to engage with Indigenous communities in collectively advancing reconciliation.”
The open letter also said that with over 100 corporate sponsors and tens of millions of dollars in revenue, TIFF is well-positioned to replace RBC’s support.
“We are committed to environmental sustainability and recognize the importance of addressing climate change quickly and collaboratively,” Judy Lung, a festival spokesperson, said via email. “We are in active discussions with RBC and welcome their openness to engaging in dialogue as a first step.”
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