Vanguard Needs a No Deforestation Policy

Vanguard Group

Every year, the world loses an area of tropical rainforest the size of the United Kingdom.

Massive deforestation to clear land for palm oil, pulp and paper, soy, rubber, timber and cattle is responsible for almost one quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Corporate control of land for industrial plantation agriculture is also a leading cause of violent land conflicts, as these activities dispossess and displace local communities.

Vanguard holds hundreds of millions of dollars in shares in the agribusiness companies most responsible for devastating our rainforests. Vanguard’s continued financing of the world’s worst deforesters exposes Vanguard and its clients to reputational and financial risk – and Vanguard has no policy in place to stop the destruction.

Tell Vanguard to adopt a No Deforestation Policy!

As one of the world’s largest investment firms, Vanguard pioneered a model of investment where the firm invests in virtually every public company in the world through passive funds – meaning it gives up any control over what those companies do. Today, Vanguard is among the world’s top investors in both fossil fuels and the companies responsible for the global deforestation crisis – and it has taken no responsibility for the destruction these companies cause to our forests, our climate, and the rights of communities.

Large fund companies like Vanguard can move the entire market and play a crucial role in averting catastrophe, and instead finance the transition to a livable planet. But they won’t do it without pressure from us.

Urge Vanguard to adopt a No Deforestation Policy!

Petition by
Andrew Montes
OAKLAND, California

To: Vanguard Group
From: [Your Name]

Dear Fund Manager,

Massive deforestation to clear land for palm oil, pulp and paper, soy, rubber, timber and cattle is responsible for almost one quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as an epidemic of land conflicts and widespread abuses of the rights of indigenous peoples. As an investment firm that holds millions of dollars in shares in the agribusiness companies most responsible for devastating our rainforests, these issues expose you and your clients to a host of material risks.
Environmental and human rights impacts – and climate impacts above all – are increasingly recognized to drive material risks to investment. Awareness of these risks is growing quickly within the financial sector – and now is the time for you to get on board.

Leading responsible investment firms have begun to develop comprehensive policies to address deforestation risk, and I believe Vanguard needs to do the same. It is both a moral and an economic imperative. You have tremendous power – and the world needs you to start using that power responsibly. I urge you to adopt a strong deforestation risk policy across all your portfolios.

Thank you.