NYC Pension Funds Announce Proposals at Big Banks for Tougher Emissions Goals for Lending and Underwriting
Three of New York City’s Retirement System pension funds, and City Comptroller Brad Lander announced that they have filed proposals at four major North American banks calling on them to set and disclose 2030 goals to reduce emissions from financing activities for carbon-intensive sectors.
The proposals, targeting Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), specifically call on the banks to set science-based targets for absolute emissions reductions from their lending and underwriting of the oil and gas and power sectors.
Each of the banks have set 2050 net zero goals, and as members of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), each have already revealed 2030 financed emissions goals (click here to see the 2030 targets for Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and RBC). In a statement announcing the proposals, however, the NYC Comptroller’s office noted that the targets refer only to emissions intensity, or the emissions produced per unit of output, rather than setting goals to reduce the absolute quantity of emissions from their financing activities.
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said that without absolute emissions reduction targets, banks’ net zero goals can be “all talk.” Lander added:
“Absent a concrete plan to reduce absolute emissions in the real world in the near term, any net zero plan rings hollow.”
The statement notes that several of the bank’s Wall Street and international peers have committed to absolute emissions reduction targets. Citi, for example, pledged to target a 29% absolute emissions reduction in its energy portfolio by 2030 (although its Power sector target is intensity-based). Other banks with absolute financed emissions reduction targets include Wells Fargo, HSBC, Société Generale, BBVA, and Deutsche Bank.
“We expect them to take the steps needed now to reduce emissions on the timeline to which they have committed. We are asking Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Royal Bank of Canada to follow the lead of their peers by setting and disclosing absolute, science-based targets for 2030, to show investors they are serious about reaching those goals.”
As of November, the three New York City Retirement Systems’ combined holdings in the shares of the four banks was approximately $850 million.