Sierra Club and Rainforest Action Network Statement on Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) and Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)


Liz Doherty,

Today, on the eve of President Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate, saw the announcement of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), an industry-led initiative including a set of guidelines for banks to use in implementing net zero commitments and setting science-based targets for 2030 or sooner. Also announced was the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), an umbrella initiative encompassing the NZBA as well as analogous initiatives for asset owners, asset managers, and insurers. Of the top six U.S. banks, Citi, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley all joined the NZBA at today’s launch. 

Last month's Banking on Climate Chaos report tallied lending and underwriting to the fossil fuel industry over 2016-20 and found that the top four fossil banks in the world, and six of the top fifteen, were headquartered in the U.S.: #1 (by a 33% margin), JPMorgan Chase, at $317B; #2, Citi, at $237B; #3, Wells Fargo, at $223B; #4, Bank of America, at $198B; #12, Morgan Stanley, at $111B; and #15, Goldman Sachs, at $101B. Between them, those banks accounted for 31% of the fossil financing from the top 60 banks in the world since the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted. 

On Monday, the Treasury Department announced a new coordinated climate policy strategy, which calls for “leveraging finance and financial risk mitigation to confront the threat of climate change.” In addition, the White House is reportedly preparing an executive order to address climate-related financial risks.

Ben Cushing, Financial Advocacy Campaign Manager, Sierra Club: “The Net-Zero Banking Alliance reaffirms that the banking industry must align with the goals of the Paris Agreement and makes progress toward rigorous near-term targets and action this decade, not just vague promises for 2050. But banks’ most urgent and important task continues to be stopping fossil fuel financing, which is the only way any of these targets will be met. The big US banks that have joined — Morgan Stanley, Citi, and Bank of America — are taking a small step toward faster action, and it’s disappointing that JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs couldn’t even join their peers to clear this low bar yet. It’s clear that Wall Street isn’t going to take sufficient action to confront the climate crisis on its own, which further underscores the need for bold action from financial regulators, and we look forward to seeing the Biden Administration implement strong regulations and safeguards to hold them accountable.”

Jason Opeña Disterhoft, Climate and Energy Senior Campaigner, Rainforest Action Network: “The NZBA and GFANZ are the broadest affirmation yet that global financial institutions drive climate change, and must decarbonize by midcentury, like all major emitters. This is another sign that the climate movement is winning the argument. But while today's initiatives build a big tent, they set a low bar. For banks, the slow timelines, limited scope, acceptance of intensity targets, and vagueness on fossil fuels and deforestation come in well below established global best practice. Today's announcements don't change the bottom line. Financial institutions have to stop fueling fossil expansion and deforestation, and phase out all support for fossils, starting immediately. They should know that's the standard by which they'll continue to be judged, and they will face growing pressure for concrete action before Glasgow.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit