Bank of America Faces Mounting Pressure Over Lack of Transparency on Continuing Support for Fossil Fuels: Calls for Accountability Grow from Bank’s Investors and from Frontline Communities

Protesters gather outside Bank of America Headquarters while climate resolutions seeking more disclosure on BOA lobbying and rates of fossil to clean financing receive strong shareholder support.

April 24, 2024 — (Charlotte, North America) Bank of America is under growing scrutiny from its customers and its investors on its poor environmental performance and human rights records. Yesterday, faith leaders and other peaceful protesters gathered outside Bank of America’s Charlotte headquarters for a vigil to call out the Bank’s harmful climate and human rights practices.

The rally’s lead coordinator Rev. Amy Brooks Paradise, didn’t mince words:

Bank of America prides itself on being a great corporate citizen and a great place to work. Yet, their “success” depends on the continued development of fossil fuel projects which are devastating the earth and sacrificing the homes and livelihoods of people in places like Tanzania, the Arctic, the Gulf South and Appalachia. We must do better. It is time to look at the full scope of the situation and hold Bank of America to account for this cost to our collective well-being and our future.

During today’s annual shareholder meeting, Bank of America’s Board of Directors was confronted with a cluster of questions about its continuing support for some of the dirtiest fossil fuels, including thermal coal and arctic drilling.

And votes were tallied on the two climate resolutions on the agenda related to the disclosure of clean energy financing ratio and climate lobbying alignment. While neither motion accrued enough support to pass, each received over 25% support. A threshold of support high enough to require a response from bank management to improve its transparency and reporting of climate data.

Aditi Sen, Climate and Energy Program Director at RAN responded to the day’s outcomes:

Both climate-related proposals received significant levels of support suggesting deep dissatisfaction with the bank’s current levels of transparency related to its political and financing activities around climate issues, and send a clear signal to Bank of America to take stronger action on climate. Three of the largest North American banks are already disclosing their clean energy financing ratio and investors and shareholders are not buying Bank of America’s defense that it already discloses enough information about how it lobbies and the nature of the energy activities it funds. The bank must heed the demands of its shareholders and take immediate steps to provide better information on how much support it gives to fossil fuels.

Background on Bank of America’s Support for Fossil Fuels and Recent Policy Reversals:
The AGM follows weeks of criticism of the Bank for walking away from the Equator Principles and rolling back its restrictions on financing to fossil fuels, including by propping up deals to high-polluting companies facing a litany of allegations and lawsuits for human rights and health code violations. Bank of America is now the only major US bank lacking specific policy restrictions banning arctic drilling and new coal extraction and plant construction.

Cumulatively, these actions have made Bank of America a supporter of some of the most dangerous fossil fuel projects threatening communities around the world and one of the biggest funders of coal on Wall Street. Bank of America is the world’s 4th largest cumulative financier of fossil fuels, having pumped $280B into fossil fuels since 2016 and approximately $35.4B in 2022 alone. The Bank is also the third largest funder of fossil fuel expansion, responsible for funneling $4.66B in 2022 to the top 100 companies actively extracting new fossil fuels and involved in new plant build-out. These companies have received a total of $87B in financing from Bank of America since 2016.