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New York pension schemes test support for climate action at bank meetings

by SuperiorInvest

New York City has filed demands for tougher climate action from U.S. banks on behalf of pension programs worth a total of $177.5 billion, creating a test of the asset managers’ commitments under political crossfire.

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander has filed shareholder proposals for Bank of America, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Canada to set better targets for absolute emissions reductions across financial activities for both banks. oil and gas and energy production.

NYC Employees Retirement System, Teachers Retirement System and Board of Education Retirement System hold relatively small stakes in the creditorsHowever, Lander successfully gained support from other asset managers for his petitions.

Almost half of the shareholders of the healthcare company Abbott Laboratories and the drug group McKesson supported Lander’s proposals to disclose the salaries of executives at those companies.

When it comes to environmental and social petitions, however, Lander’s record is weaker. Amazon’s proposal last year seeking more information about worker safety received only 13 percent support from other investors.

BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street are under fire from Republicans for their support of climate action proposals. As a result, executives may be less willing to support Lander’s demands at the banks at upcoming annual meetings.

The submitted proposals regarding the banks’ climate goals would bring their plans closer to 2030 UN guidelines which set targets should be based on absolute emissions.

Banks use carbon intensity targets that can be met without any reduction in the absolute level of emissions. Carbon intensity is a measure that is relative to a unit of output, such as income or GDP, and allows for the continued production of fossil fuels.

“The fact that New York City has stood up against Wall Street banks and leading climate resolutions, rather than NGOs or small investors, is really significant,” said Richard Brooks, director of climate finance at the advocacy group Stand.Earth, which works with controller. said the Financial Times.

“The big banks will have to decide whether they are on the side of the people whose lives are affected by climate change, or whether they will give in to a hyper-partisan attempt to protect the fossil fuel industry from Republicans.”

JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Canada did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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