The Vanguard S.O.S campaign has been making waves this Spring! Vanguard’s decision to pull out of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, and acquiesce to demands made by extremist members of the GOP proved that the firm is backsliding on its climate commitments. So we stepped it up a notch.
Between March and April, we sent 1,400 letters to Vanguard on behalf of clients, ran a major ad campaign calling out Vanguard’s climate inaction, and joined folks on the ground at Vanguard HQ and made hundreds of calls to protest the firm.
Vanguard has stated that “climate change represents a profound, fundamental risk to investors’ long-term success, and we approach climate risk from a fiduciary perspective.” As a fiduciary, Vanguard should exercise its duties of loyalty and care on behalf of customers. But Vanguard has failed to demonstrate how it is managing the risks that ongoing climate destruction poses to our investments.
That’s why customers have to speak up and make it clear to Vanguard that we won’t accept the firm putting our financial futures at risk.
In response to Vanguard’s failure to take steps to mitigate financial risk from climate change, more than 1,400 customers sent letters to Vanguard’s general counsel alleging that Vanguard is breaching its fiduciary duties.
In an effort led by Sierra Club Foundation's Paul Rissman, 1,400+ Vanguard investors are sending letters to the world's 2nd largest asset manager saying it is violating its fiduciary duty by not adequately addressing climate risk.
— Ginny Cleaveland (@virginiainwa) March 6, 2023
Did you send a letter to Vanguard and hear back from the firm? Let us know by filling out our feedback form!
Reaping What They’ve Sown
In April we ran a TV ad campaign using our new video “Reaping What They’ve Sown.” The video shines a spotlight on Vanguard’s role in fueling the climate crisis and urges the company – the world’s second largest asset manager – to improve its climate practices for the sake of our future and the planet.
Vanguard customers and employees were among the thousands of people who saw this ad campaign on streaming television platforms and on CNBC on cable systems in Chester County, Pennsylvania – the home of Vanguard HQ.
When you save with @Vanguard_Group, you're an owner – of a catastrophic climate future.💥
— Asset Manager Wake Up Call ⏰ (@AM_WakeUpCall) April 3, 2023
Hitting the ground and the phones
In April 2022, the Vanguard S.O.S. campaign launched while members from across the movement, led by members of Earth Quaker Action Team converged on Vanguard’s southeastern Pennsylvania headquarters to alert the world to Vanguard’s role as a major driver of climate destruction and environmental racism.
And since then, Vanguard has failed to listen to thousands of investors and activists making a very clear demand: get out of fossil fuels. Even worse, the firm has doubled down on its refusal to act on climate.
This year, on the one year anniversary of the Vanguard S.O.S. global campaign launch, folks from Earth Quaker Action Team and other partner organizations went back to Vanguard HQ to show up for frontline communities who are most impacted by Vanguard’s investments in oil companies and deforestation projects and to protect our retirements.
100 people gathered at @Vanguard_Group HQ to intervene in business as usual and to make clear that Vanguard must stop enabling corporations that are speeding climate destruction and environmental injustice. #VanguardSOS #ShareholderShowdown 1/4 pic.twitter.com/jiZAuL3oyT
— EarthQuakerActionTeam (@eqat) April 20, 2023
But instead of listening to the concerned citizens, people of faith, and Vanguard customers gathered at HQ – Vanguard had 16 people arrested. It’s more clear than ever that even though Vanguard claims to have investors’ best interests at heart, the firm is looking out for itself.
While folks were on the ground, we showed up in solidarity on the phones and drove over 800 calls to Vanguard HQ – where customers and activists voiced their concerns to Vanguard customer service representatives. If you made a call, let us know how your conversation went!
2023 has already been major, and we’re not backing down. We’re going to keep pushing Vanguard until we get a real plan from the firm for how it’s going to live up to climate commitments and ensure a safe, sustainable future for our retirement saving and our planet.