Indigenous and Fishing Community Leaders from Peru Are Refused Meeting with Vanguard, Rally Outside of the Investment Giant’s Headquarters

More than 120 people from local groups protested in support, saying Vanguard’s investments cause harm from Pennsylvania to Peru.

Malvern, PA – Today, a delegation of Achuar and Wampís Indigenous people from the Peruvian Amazon and small-scale fishing communities from the Peruvian coast went to Vanguard’s Malvern headquarters, hoping to meet with the company about its financial support of an oil company threatening their communities. Instead, the delegation was not allowed to enter Vanguard’s campus. Over 120 students, elders, and those living with pollution joined the delegation in support and to protest the harmful impacts of Vanguard’s investments, from Pennsylvania to Peru. Some of them stood in the driveway leading to Vanguard office buildings, holding signs and banners, as they listened to the delegates and other local activists tell their stories. 

The Peruvian delegation, accompanied by Amazon Watch, traveled to the east coast of the United States to meet with Vanguard and several other financial firms financing or investing in Petroperú, a state oil company notorious for pollution, violations of Indigenous rights, and corruption. Members of the delegation met with representatives of CitiBank and Goldman Sachs in New York City, but never received a response, let alone a meeting, from Vanguard. The delegation is asking Vanguard to stop buying bonds from Petroperú and adopt a comprehensive Indigenous rights and deforestation policy. As of 2021, Vanguard had at least $2.6 billion in debt and $9.6 billion in equity in oil companies operating in the Amazon rainforest. 

“We ask Vanguard to adopt an Indigenous rights and deforestation policy because our lives, water, and rainforest are at stake. Until it takes concrete steps, it remains complicit in the destruction of the Amazon and our livelihoods,” said Nayap Santiago, Justice and Human Rights Delegate for the Wampís Nation. 

This action took place during COP27, the annual UN climate conference that is currently meeting in Egypt. The Peruvian delegation and local organizers brought the concerns of that conference to Vanguard’s doorstep, spoke out about the harmful local and global impacts of Vanguard’s toxic investments, and asked Vanguard to invest for a livable future for all. In addition to financing and investing in environmental destruction across the world, Vanguard also invests in many polluting facilities in the Delaware Valley, especially in Chester.

“Vanguard’s approximately $8.1 trillion in investments make them one of the world’s largest drivers of climate destruction and environmental racism because they invest in dirty energy and dirty industries,” said Kearni Warren, Philadelphia Area Organizer at Energy Justice Network. “We all have a right to clean air and clean water. If polluting companies, like Covanta and others that operate trash incinerators, refuse to create plans to transition away from harmful technologies and practices, Vanguard must reevaluate their current investment strategies and stop supporting those companies.” 

This protest is part of Vanguard S.O.S., an international campaign made up of civil society organizations, finance experts, grassroots groups, and climate activists. 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. As one of the biggest investors in almost every publicly traded coal, oil, and gas company, Vanguard has the means to pressure major polluting companies to respect Indigenous self-determination and stop environmental racism. 

“Vanguard’s investments are major drivers of climate chaos, as well as violations of Indigeous self-determination in places like Peru and environmental racism in places like Pennsylvania,” said Rachael Warriner, Earth Quaker Action Team board member. “These issues are interconnected, and Vanguard has a significant role to play. Vanguard must take responsibility for its massive influence as a major investor in big polluters and invest for a livable future for all of us, locally and globally.”

Two people with black designs drawn on their faces and headbands made of feathers hold red protest signs with words in Spanish and Wampis
Photo by Tieshka K. Smith


Photos from the protest can be found here

A report on PetroPerú, highlighting the environmental and financial risks of investing in the company, can be found here.

A detailed explanation of solutions that the Vanguard S.O.S. campaign is calling for can be found here.