(Photo: AP)

JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest bank, is joining BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and State Street, going public with initiatives to address climate change and commit to sustainable investing.

Executives announced at the bank’s Investor Day on Tuesday that JPMorgan Chase will no longer finance oil and gas drilling in the Arctic or mining for coal (the latter by 2024) and will allocate $200 billion by 2025 to finance sustainable projects. By the end of 2020, it expects to use renewable energy for all of its global power needs.

In addition, J.P. Morgan Asset Management announced it’s prioritizing engagement with companies on climate change, governance, human capital management and other issues, developing a proprietary ESG scoring framework for companies and joining Climate Action 100+, a group of major investors focused on reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions.

“These announcements serve to strengthen our ongoing commitment to sustainability,” said George Gatch, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, in a statement. “ESG considerations are an integral part of investing at J.P. Morgan with over 200 buy-side research analysts applying ESG factors into the buy/sell decisions on securities.”

“This first step is significant,” said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, a nonprofit shareholder advocacy group that advocates for corporate responsibility, about JPMorgan’s announcement nixing financing for Arctic drilling and coal mining. It signals “JPMorgan Chase may be ending its outsize level of fossil fuel financing in the face of growing climate concern.” 

But Fugere tells ThinkAdvisor that the bank’s plans do not go far enough because they don’t  address all its investments in oil and gas development, in pipelines and liquid natural gas.

As You Sow has introduced a shareholder proxy asking for JPMorgan to commit to aligning its financing with the Paris Agreement on climate change. The bank has asked the SEC for permission to omit that proposal and others related to climate change from consideration during the upcoming proxy season.

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