Several of the largest banks in the United States are under increasing pressure to eliminate financing for so-called “fossil fuel” projects, according to a new report from Bloomberg. A recent statement from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility demands that major financial firms reduce and eventually end their funding for companies that explore for and develop oil and gas reserves.
Reports suggest that a series of shareholder proposals have been filed by the groups As You Sow, Green Century Capital Management, the Sierra Club Foundation, and Trillium Asset Management. The proposals were submitted to a total of six major banks, including Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase, as well as major insurers.
In addition to reducing financing to oil and gas firms, the resolutions call on the recipient companies to provide more specific details about how they intend to meet their declared goals for lowering emissions by the year 2030.
Shareholders and climate groups have argued that financial firms need to enact strict policies that can eventually eliminate funding for oil and gas projects if they want to meet their target goals for emissions reduction. Sierra Club Foundation board director Paul Rissman noted, “This year’s proposal encourages banks to finance companies that are certified by a credible third party to be on a net-zero pathway, while maintaining that financing for new fossil fuels is incompatible with the banks’ climate commitments.”
When resolutions like these were filed in 2022, BlackRock Inc. argued that it would not be supportive of any resolutions that failed to protect the long-term value of shareholder investments. The company, which is the largest asset manager in the world, has been accused by several Republican-led state governments of pursuing a “woke” agenda that seeks to boycott lending to traditional energy companies.