Modern office building close up in sunlight

Royal Bank of Canada’s chief executive officer says an “orderly transition” to a net-zero economy is crucial, as he faced questions and criticism about the bank’s climate strategy and ongoing financing of fossil fuels during its annual shareholder meeting.

Dave McKay was pressed on issues like the effects of oilsands extraction and the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

Meanwhile, in his prepared remarks, McKay emphasized RBC’s commitment to reducing global emissions in its operations by 70% by 2025.

McKay says the bank is working closely with its clients on their net-zero strategies and intends on publishing emission reduction goals for its oil and gas, utilities and automotive portfolios this fall.

He added that a better approach to public-private collaboration is needed to address the transition to a net-zero economy.

The annual general meeting was changed to a virtual-only event late Wednesday.