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Missouri Attorney General Leads 19 State Coalition in Launching Investigation into Six Major Banks Over ESG Investing

Oct 19, 2022, 11:16 AM by AG Schmitt
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that his office and 18 other attorneys general have served six major American banks with civil investigative demands, which act as a subpoena, asking for documents relating to the companies’ involvement with the United Nations’ (UN) Net-Zero Banking Alliance. The banks under investigation include Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. NZBA-member banks must set emissions reduction targets in their lending and investment portfolios to reach net zero by 2050. Missouri, Arizona, Kentucky, and Texas are leadership states on this investigation.
“The Net-Zero Banking Alliance is a massive worldwide agreement by major banking institutions, overseen by the U.N., to starve companies engaged in fossil fuel-related activities of credit on national and international markets. Missouri farmers, oil leasing companies, and other businesses that are vital to Missouri’s and America’s economy will be unable to get a loan because of this alliance,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “We are leading a coalition investigating banks for ceding authority to the U.N., which will only result in the killing of American companies that don’t subscribe to the woke, climate agenda. These banks are accountable to American laws - we don’t let international bodies set the standards for our businesses.”
 
Some of the interrogatories within the civil investigative demands include:
  • Identify all of Your divisions, groups, offices, or business segments whose responsibilities relate or used to relate to Your membership in the Net-Zero Banking Alliance or to Your ESG Integration Practices, and identify all executives, directors, officers, managers, supervisors, or other leaders of each division, group, office, or business segment.
  • Identify each Global Climate Initiative with which You are affiliated and explain the reasons You chose to join such Global Climate Initiatives.
  • For each Global Climate Initiative with which you are affiliated, identify who made the decision to join the Initiative, including any involvement or input from Your Board of Directors, investors, or Covered Companies in Your reasoning or decision.
  • Describe Your involvement in each Global Climate Initiative in which You participate, including the date You first began participating, any promises, pledges, or other commitments You made to the Global Climate Initiative, or any actions You made or took pursuant to, or consistent with, such commitments, or Your initial or on-going participation, and the employee(s) responsible for managing Your relationship with each Global Climate Initiative.
  • Describe Your involvement with the Steering Group of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, including but not limited to identifying the “C-suite delegate” who represents You on the Steering Group at the “Principal level,” the identities of other “C-suite delegates” from other members of the Steering Group, the identities of any other individuals who represented You to the Steering Group, and the dates, times, and locations of all Steering Group meetings.
  • Identify the objectives and mission of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance and describe how You incorporated these objectives into Your operations.
  • Describe the extent to which You have incorporated the Principles for Responsible Banking into Your operations, including but not limited to the extent to which You consulted with other Net-Zero Banking Alliance signatories as part of the incorporation process.
  • Describe Your CEO’s involvement as a member of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero Principals Group, including but not limited to the dates, times, and locations of all Principals Group meetings, and any commitments, pledges, or other promises made by Your CEO, either for himself or on Your behalf, as part of his membership in the Principals Group.
  • Describe the extent to which You, as a signatory to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, have acted consistent with Your commitment to “facilitat[e] the necessary transition in the real economy through prioritizing client engagement and offering products and services to support clients’ transition.”
  • Describe the extent to which You, as a signatory to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, have acted consistent with Your commitment to “engag[e] on corporate and industry (financial and real economy) action, as well as public policies, to help support a net-zero transition of economic sectors in line with science and giving consideration to associated social impacts.” 
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has been a national leader in the fight against ESG (environmental, social, governance) investing and banking practices. In late July, the Office sent civil investigative demands to Morningstar and Sustainalytics, both containing 43 interrogatories for documents pertaining to Morningstar’s perceived anti-Israel bias in ESG ratings products like Sustainalytics’ “Human Rights Radar,” as well as documents relating to previous investigations into this bias by the law firm White & Case and the Illinois Investment Policy Board. Eighteen other attorneys general joined that investigation in August.
 
In addition to Missouri, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia have joined the investigation into to the six banks. Five other states have joined, but can’t be named due to state laws or regulations regarding confidentiality.
 
More information will be made available as the investigation continues.