Eight Climate Activists Arrested at Vanguard Headquarters After Being Refused a Meeting to Discuss Vanguard’s Poor Stewardship Record

Since the asset manager has failed to put its stated stewardship values into action–and time to curb the climate crisis is running out–area groups are upping the pressure. 

Malvern, PA – On Wednesday, September 21, members of Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and Extinction Rebellion (XR) Philly walked onto Vanguard’s campus to seek a meeting with John Galloway, Global Head of Investment Stewardship. Galloway has not responded to a year and a half of requests to meet with representatives of the international campaign pressuring Vanguard’s tepid climate plans. When asked again for a meeting today, Vanguard had the activists arrested.

Seven people stand or sit in front of glass doors with signs, including one that says "Vanguard stewards climate destruction?!?"
Photo by Rachael Warriner

“We know that as the largest investor in companies like Exxon and Chevron, Vanguard has major responsibility for pushing the fossil fuel industry away from climate destruction. Instead, its voting record on shareholder resolutions shows it is not truly looking out for its own clients, let alone future generations,” said Dana Robinson, Vanguard customer, grandfather, and EQAT board member.

Robinson and the seven others were taken into custody by the Tredyffrin Township Police Department and released soon afterwards from the station. 

Five months ago, in April 2022, EQAT led a 40-mile walk from polluting facilities in Chester along the Delaware River to Vanguard’s headquarters in Malvern. With over 300 people participating, the walk dramatized the connection between Vanguard’s investments and the environmental racism and climate destruction experienced in the Delaware Valley. During the five-day walk, the company released a blog post that acknowledged climate change as a “fundamental risk to companies and to their shareholders’ long-term financial success.” That same month, Vanguard received the worst possible score — zero out of 30 on their climate commitments — in a scorecard ranking 30 major asset managers released by Reclaim Finance. A month later, in May, Vanguard released new climate targets deemed “laughably inadequate” by analysts in the global Vanguard S.O.S. campaign, which is made up of civil society organizations, finance experts, grassroots groups, and climate activists.  

As of 2021 Vanguard had over $300 billion in fossil fuel exposure, and it actually increased its coal investments to $101 billion, making it one of the world’s largest investors in the coal industry. The Vanguard S.O.S campaign is calling on Vanguard to implement a series of solutions to address the climate crisis and the detrimental impacts of its investments.

We believe that no matter where we live and no matter how much money we have in our wallets, we all deserve to live, care for future generations, grow old, and retire — no exceptions,” says Kaytee Ray-Riek, co-clerk of EQAT. “But Vanguard’s investment strategy fundamentally threatens our ability to thrive. That is why I am willing to risk arrest, to push Vanguard leaders to steer a new course that will be better for all of us, including their investors in the long term.” 


Please credit Rachael Warriner for these photos from the protest.

The letter to Vanguard CEO and full list of signers can be found here.