NZAM Aftermath: Are You Still Proud to Work at Vanguard?

An illustrated black and white photo of Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley wearing a captain's hat with his fingers in his ears overlaid on a bright red background

As a Vanguard employee, think back about how you felt when you first heard that Vanguard was joining the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative (NZAM). Climate change is the biggest challenge humanity has faced and it must be all hands on deck to solve. Every powerful company and government must take decisive action and joining NZAM signaled Vanguard’s commitment to this effort. This must have been a moment of pride for everyone at Vanguard.

How did you feel when you heard from management about Vanguard abruptly leaving NZAM, over an all-staff email an hour after this story broke? At Vanguard S.O.S., we were surprised, and our surprise quickly turned to frustration and anger. If you are feeling the same way, we empathize. Sadly this is not the first time Vanguard executives have kept you in the dark. 

We aren’t Vanguard employees, but we are Vanguard customers. We formed Vanguard S.O.S. in order to help Vanguard mitigate climate risk and lead the transition to the necessary zero emissions economy. We are organizing even more customers, employees, and investors/owners of Vanguard who all want the company to take more action on climate.

Vanguard Megatrends’ own research shows that even if one excludes the human and planetary impact of climate change it is economically better to limit warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius. For some perspective, at the current rate of emissions, we are on track to hit over 3 degrees – twice what our global economic system can safely withstand. That is why we are calling for Vanguard to take bold action.

Employees have told us that when they have approached Vanguard upper management about changing anything at the company, whether it is climate related or not, it is highly difficult. It seems like Vanguard is not a speedboat, but an ocean liner, massive and powerful but moving very slowly and heading toward an iceberg. That is how Vanguard responds to its employees.

However, Vanguard just turned tail in the face of ludicrous pressure from right-wing politicians in the U.S. who are interested only in culture war politics, not giving customers around the globe the best chance of financial success. The next time Vanguard leadership tells you the company cannot move quickly when motivated, remember this moment.

A majority of Vanguard employees stick with the company for the long-term, and news like this could make you wonder what you want your career legacy to be. Vanguard management knows the power that employees have to change the company from within. If more employees speak up about their opinions on Vanguard abandoning climate initiatives in Crews Views surveys or department town hall meetings, company leadership will notice.

We are here to help, so join us! If you have an opinion about Vanguard leaving NZAM or anything else, we want to hear from you. Click here to complete an anonymous survey. 

If you would like to get more involved with Vanguard S.O.S., along with other Vanguard employees and customers, you can sign up to our newsletter here on our website or email: info@vanguardsos.org.