Tell the Federal Reserve to Release Strong Guidelines to Stop Greenwashing by Wall Street Banks Now

While Big Banks continue to talk a big game about how they’re taking climate change seriously, their actions speak louder than their words. In fact, since 2015, Wall Street banks have invested $4.6 TRILLION in fossil fuels.

The Fed -- America’s central bank and most powerful financial regulator -- is responsible for fighting inflation, promoting full employment, and keeping our financial system stable. The Fed also has a legal mandate to respond to emerging risks, like climate change, that could have severe impacts on the stability of our financial system if left unchecked.

Risky decisions by Wall Street banks affect us all. In 2008 we saw first-hand what can happen when banks are allowed to make bad decisions to pad their pockets, without adequate oversight. And now they’re doing it again by making risky investments in fossil fuels for short-term gain without considering the incalculable consequences of climate change.

As communities around the world face escalating climate threats, we need the Fed to follow the lead of other regulators and require big banks to have internal strategies that are actually consistent with their public-facing commitments, prepare for the impacts of climate change at every level of business, and avoid strategies that harm BIPOC communities.

We’re partnering with Public Citizen and a broad coalition of climate groups to put pressure on the Fed to take action.

Sign our petition to the Federal Reserve: Release strong climate guidelines for big banks now.

Full Petition Text:

Jerome H. Powell, Chair
Lael Brainard, Vice Chair
Michael S. Barr, Vice Chair for Supervision
Christopher Waller
Michelle W. Bowman
Lisa D. Cook
Philip N. Jefferson

I urge the Federal Reserve Board of Governors (Fed) to follow the lead of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and issue climate-related risk management principles for the large banks under its supervision.

Climate-related financial risks to banks' safety and soundness are well-documented and accelerating. These risks include the physical impacts of climate change on communities, households, and businesses and the transition risks that arise as society reorients toward a clean energy economy. The Fed has a mandate and responsibility to address climate-related financial risks to banks.

The Fed’s climate supervisory principles should advise banks to:

  • take a whole-of-business approach to mitigating climate risk;

  • consider appropriate time horizons for assessing and addressing climate risk;

  • conduct robust climate scenario analysis modeling and review results with bank supervisors;

  • align internal strategies with their public climate commitments, both of which should be guided by science-based metrics and targets;

  • respect Indigenous rights and ensure the projects and companies they fund uphold Free, Prior, and Informed Consent and tribal sovereignty; and

  • recognize where and how risk-management measures could have adverse effects on low-income and marginalized households and communities, and take steps to understand and fully mitigate these risks.

The Fed’s principles should also recognize that continued financing of greenhouse gas emissions by supervised banks is exacerbating climate-related financial risk by directly increasing transition risk and contributing to physical risk, both of which in turn threaten their own stability and that of the financial system as a whole.

In addition to joining the OCC and FDIC in publishing supervisory principles, the Fed should work with them to follow up soon with more detailed guidance.