Vanguard S.O.S. is Making Waves this Spring

Protestors stand in a line after being arrested outside of Vanguard's HQ.

The Vanguard S.O.S campaign has been making waves this Spring! Vanguard’s decision to pull out of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, and acquiesce to demands made by extremist members of the GOP proved that the firm is backsliding on its climate commitments. So we stepped it up a notch.

Between March and April, we sent 1,400 letters to Vanguard on behalf of clients, ran a major ad campaign calling out Vanguard’s climate inaction, and joined folks on the ground at Vanguard HQ and made hundreds of calls to protest the firm.

Fiduciary Duty

Vanguard has stated that “climate change represents a profound, fundamental risk to investors’ long-term success, and we approach climate risk from a fiduciary perspective.” As a fiduciary, Vanguard should exercise its duties of loyalty and care on  behalf of customers. But Vanguard has failed to demonstrate how it is managing the risks that ongoing climate destruction poses to our investments.

That’s why customers have to speak up and make it clear to Vanguard that we won’t accept the firm putting our financial futures at risk.

In response to Vanguard’s failure to take steps to mitigate financial risk from climate change, more than 1,400 customers sent letters to Vanguard’s general counsel alleging that Vanguard is breaching its fiduciary duties. 

Did you send a letter to Vanguard and hear back from the firm? Let us know by filling out our feedback form!

Reaping What They’ve Sown

In April we ran a TV ad campaign using our new video “Reaping What They’ve Sown.” The video  shines a spotlight on Vanguard’s role in fueling the climate crisis and urges the company – the world’s second largest asset manager – to improve its climate practices for the sake of our future and the planet.

Vanguard customers and employees were among the thousands of people who saw this ad campaign on streaming television platforms and on CNBC on cable systems in Chester County, Pennsylvania – the home of Vanguard HQ.

Hitting the ground and the phones

In April 2022, the Vanguard S.O.S. campaign launched while members from across the movement, led by members of Earth Quaker Action Team converged on Vanguard’s southeastern Pennsylvania headquarters to alert the world to Vanguard’s role as a major driver of climate destruction and environmental racism.

And since then, Vanguard has failed to listen to thousands of investors and activists making a very clear demand: get out of fossil fuels. Even worse, the firm has doubled down on its refusal to act on climate.

Protestors hold a large black and white banner that reads "Vanguard invests in climate destruction". They are standing blocking an entrance to Vanguard's office in Malvern, PA.
Photo by Eve Gutman

This year, on the one year anniversary of the Vanguard S.O.S. global campaign launch, folks from Earth Quaker Action Team and other partner organizations went back to Vanguard HQ to show up for frontline communities who are most impacted by Vanguard’s investments in oil companies and deforestation projects and to protect our retirements. 

But instead of listening to the concerned citizens, people of faith, and Vanguard customers gathered at HQ – Vanguard had 16 people arrested. It’s more clear than ever that even though Vanguard claims to have investors’ best interests at heart, the firm is looking out for itself.

Protestors stand in a line after being arrested outside of Vanguard's HQ.
Photo by Rachael Warriner

While folks were on the ground, we showed up in solidarity on the phones and drove over 800 calls to Vanguard HQ – where customers and activists voiced their concerns to Vanguard customer service representatives. If you made a call, let us know how your conversation went!

2023 has already been major, and we’re not backing down. We’re going to keep pushing Vanguard until we get a real plan from the firm for how it’s going to live up to climate commitments and ensure a safe, sustainable future for our retirement saving and our planet.