Ginny Cleaveland, Deputy Press Secretary, Fossil-Free Finance, Sierra Club, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-508-8498 (Pacific Time)
In Texas: Roddy Hughes, email@example.com, 202-271-5881
DALLAS, TEXAS — The annual general meeting for Goldman Sachs took place on Wednesday, April 26, in Dallas. Outside the meeting, climate advocates with the Sierra Club, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Hip Hop Caucus, the Vessel Project of Louisiana, and For a Better Bayou held a rally and press conference to draw attention to the bank’s continued financing of fossil fuels, despite its climate pledges.
At its annual meeting, Goldman Sachs faced several investor proposals calling on the bank to do better on climate, including a proposal from the Sierra Club Foundation demanding that it commit to a time-bound phase out of new fossil fuel exploration and development (7% support), a proposal from the New York City Comptroller demanding that it disclose its absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets for 2030 (12% support), and a proposal from As You Sow demanding that it create a transition plan to align its financing activities with its 2030 emissions reduction targets (30% support). See results from similar shareholder proposals at the annual meetings of Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo.
Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest financiers of fossil fuels. According to the annual Banking on Climate Chaos report, in the last 7 years, Goldman Sachs poured $145 billion into fossil fuels, and $9.9 billion in 2022 alone. Goldman Sachs continues to bankroll fossil fuels despite committing more than two years ago to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 for the projects it finances. By continuing to provide new financing for fossil fuel expansion, Goldman Sachs is undermining our ability to meet our climate goals, contradicting its own climate pledges, and committing environmental racism by giving billions of dollars to LNG projects to export fracked gas in disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and low-income communities across the Gulf Coast.
Goldman Sachs is one of the largest financiers of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the world, which causes irreparable harm to the environment, climate, and environmental justice communities. This includes providing financing to companies like Venture Global, the company behind the proposed Plaquemines LNG export facility in Louisiana, which would be one of the largest fracked gas export terminals in the US. A June 2022 report by the Sierra Club analyzes the facility’s potential impact on the environment, climate, and nearby communities.
Quotes from advocacy groups
“Economic justice, racial justice, climate, and environmental justice are inextricably linked. Pollution from fossil fuels worsens the effects of climate change, and together they create a destructive loop that disproportionately impacts the well-being of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. Financial institutions who continue to support fossil fuel expansion are doing business in a way that compromises the needs of our planet and our people. You cannot finance harmful industries and at same time be committed to meeting the needs of the communities you serve. The only way forward is to stop financing fossil fuel expansion now,” said Stephone Coward, the Director of Economic Justice with Hip Hop Caucus.
“It is disappointing but not surprising to me that a bunch of rich people in suits based in major cosmopolitan cities continue to make decisions that fund increasing cancer rates for both myself and my fellow citizens of the poor rural South. How far can we expect human empathy to extend, really? However, on a business operations level, it is my understanding that Goldman Sachs prides themselves on excellence. If they wanted to actually be excellent, they would diversify their operations to better understand firsthand the regions and people in which they are funding life-destroying operations for time-limited profit," said Ariana Akbari, Volunteer with the Sierra Club.
“Gulf Coast communities are united in our opposition to oil and gas export facilities because they dump even more toxic emissions on impoverished communities of color that have limited access to healthcare,” said Bekah Hinojosa, Gulf Coast Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club. “We’re calling on Goldman Sachs to commit to stop financing and supporting environmental racism in our communities by drawing the line on oil and gas export projects.”
“Goldman Sachs is continuing to invest and provide financial services for community-destroying and climate-killing fossil fuel infrastructure projects, like Venture Global’s methane gas export terminals in south Louisiana. Goldman Sachs cannot claim to be working toward net zero while also knowingly investing in dirty fracked gas export terminals. There is nothing clean or green about 'natural gas' and the impacts of these terminals on our communities and ways of life is nothing short of environmental injustice of the highest order. It’s as if Goldman Sachs thinks it can take a play from the tobacco playbook and claim it wasn't aware of the harms being caused, both locally and abroad. There can be no denying the bank's role in funding the climate crisis, having provided over $145 billion to fossil fuel projects. Without shifting from investing in these awful projects, Goldman Sachs should be held fully responsible for all loss and damages associated with continuing down this path. Goldman Sachs must hold firm to its commitment to true net zero and stop harming communities on coastlines around the world,” said James Hiatt with For a Better Bayou.
Next annual meetings
Next month, the last two of the six major US banks will hold their annual meetings — JPMorgan Chase on May 16 and Morgan Stanley on May 19 — both of which face a similar suite of climate proposals as their peers.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of 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 www.sierraclub.org.