Google: Fix Your Funds

Did you know that Google’s Vanguard 401(k) retirement plan has more than $2 billion invested in fossil fuels? And that Vanguard, Google’s retirement plan manager, is a top investor in fossil fuels globally – with nearly $268 billion in coal, gas, and oil, including tar sands and Amazon oil.

Fossil fuels are a risky investment. Google employees could have earned an estimated $1.15 billion in additional returns over the past 10 years if Google’s Vanguard 401(k) plan had divested from fossil fuels. As climate change worsens and the United Nations and International Energy Agency call for dramatic decarbonization by 2030, the value of fossil fuels is expected to decline further.

Recognizing the material risks that climate change poses, large retirement plans like the University of California have removed fossil fuels from their core fund lineup. You also deserve an employer that provides you with 401(k) investments that manage climate risk, to safeguard your long-term retirement savings.

What’s missing is leadership in Big Tech. This is not due to a lack of technical solutions, it’s about enough customers – that’s you – demanding fossil-free investments. And we need a hero in these turbulent times.

Google cannot achieve its net zero by 2030 goals as long as it is financing the climate crisis – and your Google-Vanguard 401(k) is putting your retirement savings at risk while harming frontline communities and jeopardizing our chance of a livable future.

So how can Google do the right thing?

With over $27 billion invested in Vanguard funds, Vanguard manages more than 90% of Google’s 401(k) plan investments – making Google Vanguard’s largest 401(k) client. As a global leader in tech and one of the world’s most valuable companies, Google has both the power and the responsibility to tell Vanguard to do better.

You have the power to change this. And it starts by letting Alphabet leadership know that you deserve better. And they deserve better from Vanguard, too – for your retirement savings, Alphabet’s climate commitments, and a liveable planet.

Connect with your colleagues, managers, and send a note to Alphabet’s Ruth Porat (President & Chief Investment Officer; CFO) and Kent Walker (President of Global Affairs). Ask them to work with Vanguard to provide Googlers with a fossil-free fund lineup, which includes fossil-free target date funds and a fossil-free default option.

And know you are not alone. Google customers and the public are emailing Alphabet and Vanguard leadership with one clear request: offer you a fossil-free 401(k). And this summer, Alphabet investors can vote yes on this shareholder resolution asking Alphabet to detail how it is managing climate risk in your retirement plan.

So here’s how you can safeguard your retirement and our future – before it’s too late:

  1. Share this blog with your colleagues.
  2. Contact Ruth Porat & Kent Walker – ask them to be heroes, and to work with Vanguard this year to provide Alphabet employees with a fossil-free 401(k) fund lineup, including fossil-free target date funds and a fossil-free default option.
  3. Support this shareholder resolution at Alphabet’s annual general meeting this summer.
  4. Organize with your colleagues. Leave your contact details below, and we’ll put you in touch with other Googlers working to secure a climate-safe 401(k).

This is your moment.

You have the power to ensure Google and Vanguard do the right thing.