19-State Coalition Launching an Investigation into Six Major Banks Over Ties to UN Net-Zero Banking Alliance

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that his office and 18 other attorneys general served six major American banks with civil investigative demands. These demands act as a subpoena and seek documents relating to the banks’ involvement with the United Nations Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), which is part of a trend toward environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. Missouri, Arizona, Kentucky, and Texas are leading the investigation,

The banks served with demands include Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. NZBA-member banks must set emissions reduction targets in their lending and investment portfolios to reach net zero by 2050. According to the NZBA’s governance document:

In addition to net-zero by 2050 commitments, banks must set targets for 2030 or sooner which are in line with a low/no overshoot scenario consistent with 1.5 degree warming to cover a significant majority of emissions including in at least one priority sector within 18 months of joining and set targets for all or a substantial majority of listed high emitting sectors within 36 months of signing and  annually report on targets and progress.

Bank of America, Citigroup, and  Morgan Stanley are currently listed as members of the 12-member Steering Group for the NZBA. Another member of the Steering Group not included in the investigation is Amalgamated Bank. This financial institution is rooted in the U.S. labor movement with strong ties to the SEIU, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Amalgamated calls itself “America’s socially responsible bank” and was instrumental in pushing Visa and Mastercard to add the transaction code for firearms and ammunition purchases.

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