Tim Buckley’s “Defense” of Vanguard’s NZAM Withdrawal Rings Hollow

Earlier today, the Financial Times published a new interview with Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley. In the interview Buckley defended Vanguard’s decision to withdraw from the Net Zero Asset Managers (NZAM) initiative last December. The arguments, however, do not hold water – and fly in the face of Vanguard’s own stated commitments on climate.

In fact, Vanguard’s latest stewardship report was released just last week – and it reiterated: “Vanguard research has shown climate change—and the evolving global responses to it—to be financially material to companies and to their shareholders’ long-term financial success.”

So why is Vanguard not taking the steps necessary to mitigate that climate risk?


“Vanguard is either not ready or not willing to keep up with the times and step into the future,” said Roberta Giordano, campaign manager for Vanguard S.O.S. “Vanguard lags behind even the slow-moving BlackRock and State Street when it comes to mitigating climate risk or offering innovative solutions to climate-conscious clients. Rather than hold its ground against ill-informed, climate denialist attacks, Vanguard caved to fringe far right pressure and left NZAM.”

“By not being proactive on climate, Vanguard is jeopardizing its clients’ long-term financial security.” added Giordano. “The rest of the industry sees the writing on the wall.”


“Vanguard has a fiduciary duty to address climate as a systemic risk to its investors,” said Ben Cushing, campaign director of the Sierra Club’s Fossil-Free Finance campaign. “Vanguard’s clients should be very concerned about whether that duty is being met. Vanguard’s focus on getting climate disclosures from companies in its portfolio is the bare minimum for managing risks, but it is in no way sufficient. Investors must demand that Vanguard release a comprehensive plan to mitigate climate risks to its entire portfolio.”


Facts about Vanguard:

  • Vanguard is the second-largest asset manager in the world, commanding over $7 trillion in assets under management.
  • Vanguard has over $300 billion invested in fossil fuels, and ESG funds represent only 0.38% of its total AUM.
  • Across the board, Vanguard’s climate actions lag far behind even slow-moving peers like BlackRock and State Street.


About the Vanguard S.O.S. campaign:

Vanguard S.O.S. is an international campaign pushing Vanguard to chart a new course away from climate catastrophe and toward truly sustainable and responsible investing. The network is made up of civil society organizations, social movements, and financial experts working together to secure a climate-safe future for everyone.


Contact: TJ Helmstetter on behalf of the Sunrise Project/Vanguard S.O.S. –  tjhelm@gmail.com