NYC Pension Funds Call for Greenhouse Gas Disclosure From 4 Major Banks

Shareholder proposals have been filed with Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Royal Bank of Canada.


New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and three of the five New York City Retirement Systems pension funds have filed shareholder proposals at Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Royal Bank of Canada, calling for them to disclose absolute greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2030, it was announced on Tuesday. [Source]

Lander, on behalf of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System and the Board of Education Retirement System, wants the banks to set and publish interim science-based reduction targets for the end of the decade. Lander sees the targets as necessary for the banks to meet their net-zero goals and notes that greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry account for more than 40% of global emissions. Each proposal requests that a report be issued within one year.

As of November, the three pension funds that filed the proposals combined to own 2.99 million shares of JPMorgan Chase, worth $412.9 million; 7.74 million shares of Bank of America, worth a little more than $239 million; 437,000 shares of Goldman Sachs, worth $168.8 million; and 293,000 shares of Royal Bank of Canada, worth $28.9 million.

“Shareholders applauded these banks when they set net-zero goals—but it can’t be all talk,” Lander said in a press release. “We expect them to take the steps needed now to reduce emissions on the timeline to which they have committed.”

Lander said he and the pension funds are asking the banks to set and disclose “absolute, science-based targets for 2030, to show investors they are serious about reaching those goals.” He added that, “absent a concrete plan to reduce absolute emissions in the real world in the near term, any net-zero plan rings hollow.”

The four banks are members of the United Nations-backed Net-Zero Banking Alliance, a group of banks that have committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050. The group claims to represent more than 40% of global banking assets. [Source]

However, according to Lander, the four banks have only set targets to reduce the intensity of their emissions, which he said does not show if the company’s total financed emissions have decreased.

Lander noted that other banks have already set interim targets to reduce emissions, such as Citigroup, Wells Fargo, HSBC, Société Générale, BBVA and Deutsche Bank. According to Lander, Citigroup has committed to reducing absolute emissions for the energy sector by 29% by 2030. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo, HSBC, Société Générale, BBVA and Deutsche Bank have set targets to reduce absolute emissions for the oil and gas sector by 26%, 34%, 30%, 30% and 23% respectively.

Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo declined to comment. Royal Bank of Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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