Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo & Co. are encouraging their investors to wind down fossil fuel investments. While there is no binding policy in place, the three major U.S. banks have urged investors to consider their call for policies to phase out lending and underwriting for new fossil fuel exploration and development.
With all three banks set to hold shareholder meetings on Tuesday, the topic of reduced fossil fuel spending is expected to be discussed. Last year, similar motions at banks’ meetings won the support of no more than 13% of voters.
Heidi Welsh, executive director of the Sustainable Investments Institute, believes that the upcoming votes will help to gauge how invested Wall Street firms have become in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. “If you get at least 20%, then you’re in the game,” she commented.
Ben Cushing, a Sierra Club campaign director warned, however, that by bringing votes on ESG issues to the floor, major banks risk tarnishing their image with investors that they are effectively mitigating environmental risks.