- Republican heads of agriculture from 12 states, including Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Texas, requested information Monday from members of the United Nations-backed Net Zero Banking Alliance on their plans to achieve net-zero status within their respective agricultural portfolios.
- The request went to the heads of Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. The commissioners also asked the banks to confirm their member status of the NZBA and disclose any involvement the United Nations Environment Programme has had in guiding or reviewing the banks’ agricultural climate targets.
- The agriculture commissioners said they have “serious concerns” about potential impacts of the banks’ net-zero goals on the agriculture sector, especially effects on food availability, credit access for farmers and agriculture product manufacturers.
The Jan. 29 letter represents another forum for Republican officials to raise their objections to the UN-aligned climate coalitions. Similar actions have typically been taken by state attorneys general or the House Judiciary Committee. However, the commissioners said it is within their respective authorities to request any documents the banks have on agriculture-related climate targets, according to the letter.
State agricultural heads Rick Pate of Alabama; Wilton Simpson of Florida; Tyler Harper of Georgia; Mike Naig of Iowa; Jonathan Shell of Kentucky; Mike Strain of Louisiana; Andy Gipson of Mississippi; Steve Troxler of North Carolina; Doug Goehring of North Dakota; Hugh Weathers of South Carolina; Sid Miller of Texas and Kent Leonhardt of West Virginia signed onto the letter.
“Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture requires a complete overhaul of on-farm infrastructure — one of the goals of the NZBA,” the letter, which requests a response by Feb. 16 said. “This would have a catastrophic impact on our farmers.”
JPMorgan Chase has not set net-zero aligned targets for the agricultural sector, according to its website. While Bank of America has committed to investing in sustainable agriculture, it has also not set any goals for the sector and neither has Wells Fargo, which set targets for the automotive, steel and aviation industries in July. It also appears that Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have not set climate targets for the agricultural sector.
Goldman Sachs has a goal to reach net-zero by 2030, and its 2022 sustainability report includes a focus on financing sustainable agriculture as part of the climate transition. The report said the institution allocated 3% of its 2022 funds — $31 million — to sustainable food and agriculture.
The same six banks received civil investigative demands from 14 attorneys general in October 2022. At the time, the attorneys general said they were investigating allegations the banks had blocked credit to oil companies due to their ESG policies.
Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley declined to comment for this story. Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.