The Issue: Sustainable Energy & Climate Change

  • Environmental impact assessments are particularly important for banks, which have a significant footprint that includes lending to high-carbon industries, such as coal. For example, financing Mountaintop Removal Mining (MTR)—an egregious form of coal extraction, which involves the removal of mountain ranges to expose coal seams—leads to the destruction of mountains and nearby waters and ecosystems. Banks can play a key role in financing the transition to a clean energy economy.


  • Led dialogue on financing of coal fired power plants with Citigroup (2007) and JPMorgan Chase (2009)
  • Engaged PNC in dialogue about its mountaintop removal mining (MTR) policy in 2010 and file shareholder resolutions on climate risk (2012, 2013).
  • Led coalition of 80 investors ($500 trillion AUM) engaging 63 global banks on climate-related risks and opportunities


  • PNC’s 2015 CSR report announced commendable changes to its approach to climate-related risk–a direct response from our multi-year investor dialogue. PNC hired a Social and Environmental Risk Officer, will enhance environmental due diligence, and will no longer finance coal producers with 25% or more of production coming from MTR. PNC will  also embed social and environmental risk analysis into the credit function.
  • Citigroup, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley launched the Carbon Principles in 2008 for enhanced due diligence for potential financing of coal-fired power plants.



The information in this document should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. There is no assurance that any securities discussed in this report will remain in an account’s portfolio at the time you read this document. The securities discussed do not represent an account’s entire portfolio and may represent only a small portion of an account’s holdings. It should not be assumed that any securities transactions we discuss were or will prove to be profitable. Past performance does not guarantee future results. All investments involve risk, including the risk of losing principal.

Published On: June 30, 2015Categories: Thought Leadership