Rainforest Action Network Responds to Morgan Stanley Updated Climate and Human Rights Policy



On August 7, 2019, Morgan Stanley published minor updates to its Environmental & Social Policy Statement and Statement on Human Rights. In the three years since the Paris Climate Agreement, Morgan Stanley ranks as the 11th largest funder of fossil fuels in the world, with $66.9 billion in financing over those three years.

Rainforest Action Network response:

Patrick McCully, Climate and Energy Program Director at Rainforest Action Network said:

“Morgan Stanley’s milquetoast environmental and social policy update is a wasted opportunity. The bank could have followed the lead of peers such as Crédit Agricole and BNP Paribas and announced measures that begin to confront the scale of the climate crisis, such as restricting finance for coal, tar sands, liquefied natural gas, and deforestation. But instead Morgan Stanley opted to leave the door wide open to funding the world’s most carbon-intensive companies.

“The policy update does take the important step of referring to the right of Indigenous communities anywhere in the world to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for projects that impact their territories. However the wording in the policy is unacceptably vague in that it fails to explicitly state that Morgan Stanley will not finance companies that seek to build projects without the FPIC of impacted Indigenous Peoples.

“To move from being culpable in exacerbating the climate crisis to being part of the climate solution, Morgan Stanley should announce its support for the Paris Agreement and its intention to align with the Paris goal of a 1.5 degree world in which human rights are fully respected. Aligning with Paris requires ending finance for all companies that are expanding fossil fuel extraction and use, committing to phase out fossil financing on a 1.5 degree-aligned timeline, and adopting a No Deforestation, No Peatland, No Exploitation forest-risk commodity policy.

“We are encouraged that the bank is committing to an annual review of its policy and look forward to it being strengthened going forward. But next year’s update will need more than these types of minor tweaks in order to even begin to address Morgan Stanley’s responsibility to stop fueling the climate crisis.

For a detailed analysis of this policy, read more here.