Costco Members Welcome New CEO With a Party—and a Demand to Drop Citibank

Source: Inside Climate News


Climate activists gathered at Costco’s Washington state headquarters on Wednesday with a congratulatory card and cake for the company’s newly appointed chief executive officer, along with a clear demand to drop Citibank as the financial institution for the Costco credit card. 

Braving a cold and rainy morning, about 18 activists called on CEO Ron Vachris to end Costco’s partnership with Citi because of the bank’s outsized contributions to the climate crisis. 

With over $330 billion financing fossil fuels from 2016 to 2022, Citi was the second biggest fossil fuel-financing bank in the world according to a report from Banking on Climate Chaos—second only to JPMorgan. In 2022 alone, the bank ranked fourth. Citi currently hosts Costco’s members-only credit card. The activists, led by grassroots climate organizations Third ActStop the Money Pipelineand others, delivered a petition signed by 40,000 people, including 18,000 Costco members, to the company’s headquarters office, demanding that the company drop Citi. 

The action on Wednesday at Costco headquarters was framed as a joyful celebration for Vachris, who was promoted to CEO on Jan 1. Vachris, who was promoted from chief operating officer, started out at Costco’s predecessor, Price Club, as a part-time forklift driver around 40 years ago. The organizers brought party hats and balloons and danced while singing a version of Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” with the lyrics, “Citibank, goodbye,” replacing “celebrate good times!” A large card read, “Congrats on CEO, Ron! Don’t let Citibank ruin the party…or the climate!” Signs, speeches and chants riffed on Costco’s values statement, “do the right thing.”

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