Why JPMorgan Chase has set up Special ‘Green Economy’ Group

Global finance giant JPMorgan Chase says it comprises hundreds of employees who are ‘devoted’ to sustainability and environmental, social and governance

Global finance giant JPMorgan Chase has set up a new ‘green group’ to coordinate and inform its work around the green economy and related infrastructure investment.

According to its 2023 Annual Report, the group will feed into all established industry groups – from auto to real estate, energy, agriculture and others – and includes hundreds of employees devoted to these efforts.

The company also pledged to provide “best-in-class environmental, social and risk standards” – and called for “proper government action” to address climate change. 

What is the background?

The move follows JPMorgan Chase’s recent decision to withdraw from Climate Action 100+ and the Equator Principles, which provoked some criticism.

In his foreword to the Annual Report, CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon explains the thinking behind the withdrawal.

He writes: “‘Why?’ we are asked. While we don’t necessarily disagree with some of the principles many organisations have, we make our own business decisions.

“We think we have some of the best-in-class environmental, social and risk standards because we have invested in our own in-house experts and matured our own risk management processes over the years.”

Jamie adds: “As a result, we are going to go our own way and make our own independent decisions, gathering the best learnings of experts in the field and, of course, we will follow all legal requirements.

Three big challenges

He sets out three big challenges to get global leaders thinking:

1 - “Everyone should understand that conquering the climate problem needs proper government action, particularly around taxes, permitting, grids, infrastructure building and proper coordination of policies — we are not there yet”

2 - “There is no known technology that can fill the gap between our aspirations and the current trajectory of the world.” Jamie says he hopes and believes it will be found – through carbon capture, improved batteries, hydrogen or other measures – but adds: “This new technology will also require proper government research and development funding, as the effort cannot be accomplished by private enterprise alone.”

3 - “We are going to use the word “commitment” much more reservedly in the future, clearly differentiating between aspirations we are actively striving toward and binding commitments.”

Jamie writes that the new green economy group enables JPMorgan Chase to “play the right role in tackling the climate challenge”.

Sustainability at the economic heart

Tim Berry, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase, adds that the company has brought sustainability together with philanthropy, government relations, research and policy, and community engagement functions to tackle inclusive economic growth as one team.

He writes: “Our integrated model allows us to tap a wide-ranging set of tools and perspectives to address societal issues impacting our clients, customers and employees and drive favourable conditions for the firm’s continued success.

“We understand that complex problems aren’t solved with a single grant or meeting but rather require multifaceted solutions.”

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