Bank of America Announces Net-Zero Financing Goal

Updated on

BERKELEY, CA—FEB. 11, 2021—Today, Bank of America announced its commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its financing activities by 2050, following an earlier announcement to measure and disclose its financed emissions through the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF).

Bank of America joins Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase as the largest U.S. banks committed to achieving net-zero-financed emissions. Investors expect other major banking institutions will follow Bank of America’s leadership in setting net-zero by 2050 financed-emission goals.

Shareholders are increasingly concerned about the systemic impacts of climate change to the economy and have sought action from banks through a series of shareholder proposals over the past three years. Shareholder advocate As You Sow — joined by several investors including Mercy Investment Services, Arjuna Capital, Boston Trust Walden, Presbyterian Church USA, and Boston Common Asset Management, among others — has filed climate-focused resolutions with a large segment of the U.S. banking industry, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup, asking banks to immediately take tangible steps to measure, disclose and, importantly, to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their financing activities, including in particular their financing of fossil fuels.

Greenhouse gas emissions and shareholders

In 2020, As You Sow and Arjuna Capital filed a shareholder proposal with Bank of America asking if and how it would align it’s financing with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree goal. After a constructive engagement, followed by Bank of America’s commitment, As You Sow has withdrawn its proposal. As the fourth largest global financier of fossil fuels, Bank of American’s leadership is significant, signaling that it will transition its financing activities in line with global climate goals.

Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, had this to say about the announcement:

“Investors applaud Bank of America’s commitment to transition to a more sustainable business model and reduce the growing climate impacts of its financing activities. This commitment positions BofA to thrive in the rapidly evolving net-zero economy. It will also catalyze decarbonization across the economy, signaling the necessity for businesses to move onto a net-zero transition pathway or find access to capital more costly or limited as money flows to low carbon activities.”

Natasha Lamb, managing partner of Arjuna Capital, had this to say about the announcement: 

“It’s high time banks are accountable for the greenhouse gas emissions of their lending portfolios — including the financing of fossil fuel projects. Bank of America’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 is a huge step forward, not only toward achieving the Paris climate goal, but towards creating a lower-risk more climate-resilient company.”