Big Banks Told to Phase Out Financing of New Fossil-Fuel Projects

Six Wall Street banks are being pressed by a group of shareholders to move faster on reducing their financing of fossil fuels to meet global climate goals.

The investors are asking the lenders, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., to phase out their funding of oil and gas exploration and development, according to a statement from Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, whose members filed the shareholder proposals. They also want the banks to show how they plan to align their lending and underwriting services for other industries to ensure they meet goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Separately, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and three New York City pension plans said in a statement Tuesday that they want lenders, including Royal Bank of Canada, to disclose their 2030 targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions on an absolute basis rather than an intensity basis.

Similar climate-related proposals filed last year were unsuccessful. BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager, said at the time that it wouldn’t support climate resolutions that are “unduly prescriptive and constraining” and may not promote long-term shareholder value. While banks are being pressed to act on global warming by advocacy groups, they’re also under fire from Republicans who have said they’re following a “woke climate agenda.”

“Banks have made significant progress over the last five years, but they need to set policies and be more transparent about how they are reaching their climate goals,” said Danielle Fugere, president of activist shareholder As You Sow, which is part of the group that filed the resolutions.