Fifty institutional investors from the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) have written to the Bank of America, urging it to disclose its climate risks and “actively invest in solutions that will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy”.
Investors said in the letter that they were concerned about the consequences that fossil fuel investment will have on the planet and on their finances, given that up to 80% of known reserves will need to stay in the ground to avoid runaway global warming.
The letter reads, “As responsible investors, many of us representing faith communities, we are concerned about the environmental and social impacts of climate change and what it means for the planet and its people, particularly those most vulnerable, the poor and marginalised, who often feel these impacts most keenly.
“But as long-term shareholders, we are also acutely aware of the material risks it poses to shareholder value for the companies in our portfolio.”
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The initiative comes after campaigners revealed that the Bank of America has been a major player in financing the coal industry. In 2012, the bank was the largest financer of coal-fired power stations in the US.
Investors called for a more detailed disclosure of climate risks, given the twin issues of stronger environmental policies and the ‘stranding’ of assets. They also urged the bank to switch its financing low-carbon projects.
The letter adds, “Bank of America has already taken the initial step of scrutinising its potential exposure to climate risk from its financing of electric power producers.
“We strongly urge our company to take the next step by measuring and reporting on the climate risks of its financed emissions via lending and underwriting in other emissions-intensive industries and further, to report to shareholders its plans to mitigate these risks.”
Photo: Paul Lowry via flickr