Own NAB (ASX:NAB) shares? Here’s how the bank upset activists this week

NAB has faced calls to remove the Coastal GasLink from its loan book

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The National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) share price was sluggish this week amid news more than 100 activist groups reportedly signed a letter to the bank and other investors in a controversial Canadian gas pipeline.

The letter was penned by leaders of the Wet’suwet’en nation.

It calls for investors to remove TC Energy‘s Coastal GasLink from their loan books, claiming the pipeline violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

According to BankTrack, NAB lent approximately $127 million to the Coastal GasLink in April 2020.

As of Friday’s close, the NAB share price is $28.86. That represents a dip of 0.1% over Friday’s session and a 0.7% gain for the week.

For context, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) also gained 0.7% over the week just been.

Let’s take a closer look at the controversies surrounding the 670-kilometre gas pipeline.

The NAB share price ended the week in the green by the skin of its teeth. Meanwhile, activist groups are reportedly backing the Wet’suwet’en nation’s calls for financiers, including NAB, to divest the Coastal GasLink.

On Friday, The Age reported activist groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Market Forces, and BankTrack have all signed the letter penned by the leaders of the Wet’suwet’en nation, stating:

We are responsible for decisions regarding our land, and the decision of TC Energy to construct the Coastal GasLink pipeline without our consent is an infringement of our title and rights…

We call on you to divest and withdraw investment in the Coastal GasLink pipeline immediately. Furthermore, continued investment in this project is in open violation of Wet’suwet’en, Canadian, and international law. In no way is Coastal GasLink a responsible, profitable, secure, or morally sound investment.

The letter states the Wet’suwet’en nation didn’t consent for the pipeline to be built on its land. It also said the pipeline will result in damage to archaeological heritage sites.

Finally, it claims the Coastal GasLink is a bad investment with a high chance of becoming a stranded asset:

We believe the financial case for… Coastal GasLink is weakening and the scant local economic benefits, particularly in the long term, are dwindling.

NAB share price snapshot

The activist activity likely didn’t affect the NAB share price last week. It managed to scrape in a gain of just 0.7% over the course of the week.

That leaves it with a year-to-date gain of 25%. It is also 47% higher than it was this time last year.

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