A Republican-led coalition of 19 state attorneys general served six of the largest U.S. banks with investigative subpoenas over their involvement with the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance, escalating the political backlash over firms' environmental, social and governance goals.
The attorneys general said the banks' ESG goals may be violating their states' consumer protection and fair-trade laws. The states are taking their cause to a new level by extending the fight to a global organization such as the U.N. and a bank network representing more than $70 trillion in assets, observers said.
The states served Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. with seemingly identical civil investigative demands.
The U.N. defines the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, or NZBA, as a group of banks "committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero [greenhouse gas] emissions by 2050."
The attorneys general requested "all documents and communications" related to the six banks' decision to join the NZBA or any other global climate initiative.