Mummers Group Brings Taste of Parade to Wayne Home of Vanguard CEO, Playful Protest of Vanguard’s Investments in Fossil Fuels

Wayne, PA – Yesterday, a normally placid neighborhood in Wayne got a taste of the Mummers parade, the flamboyant folk parade held annually in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day. Members of the Vaudevillains New Year’s Brigade (VNYB), part of the Murray Comic Club and a participant in this year’s parade, brought their colorful costumes and upbeat music to the block where Vanguard’s CEO, Tim Buckley, lives. 

A half dozen people in colorful animal costumers dance in the middle of a street. Some are holding signs, including one that says "New year, new Vanguard?? Ins: - take climate change seriously, -make climate-safe investments the default, - vote for climate-friendly shareholder resolutions"
Photo by Rachael Warriner

Dancers dressed as whales and horseshoe crabs paraded down the street holding signs with messages like “New Year, New Vanguard?” and “In: Making climate-safe investments the default for all customers, Out: Thinking climate change is someone else’s problem.” Event organizers claim that, as the world’s largest investor in fossil fuels, Vanguard has the means to influence the companies in its portfolio to shift away from climate destruction and towards a just transition to clean energy, and as CEO, Buckely holds ultimate responsibility for Vanguard’s actions. 

This Wednesday, Buckley will be presenting at Vanguard’s annual webinar for retail customers, “A Look Ahead,” where he’ll share economic and market insights for the upcoming year. Protest organizers hope Buckley will speak about Vanguard’s investments in the fossil fuels causing climate change and its plans to change. 

“It’s time for Vanguard to see that climate change is not someone else’s problem and to take seriously its role in protecting its customers’ futures. We’re asking Vanguard to vote for climate friendly shareholder resolutions and offer climate-responsible funds as mainstream products,” said Elizabeth Piersol Schmidt, who was dressed up as an orca. 

Vanguard invests about $270 billion dollars in coal, oil, and gas. Company leadership has so far refused to take meaningful action on climate change, lagging behind in the asset management industry by not engaging robustly with portfolio companies and by failing to release plans to decarbonize its investment portfolio in line with any internationally-agreed upon limit to global temperature increase.

The parade is part of the ongoing international Vanguard S.O.S. campaign. Through protests, phone calls, letters, petitions, and other actions over more than two years, campaigners have been asking Vanguard to use its influence as a major shareholder to push the companies it invests in to significantly reduce their emissions, and exit its investments in fossil fuel companies that refuse to transition their businesses to be in alignment with a livable future.

“2023 was the hottest year on record. We hope CEO Tim Buckley makes 2024 the year Vanguard acts responsibly on fossil fuels and climate change,” said Kaytee Ray-Riek, who was dressed up as a mermaid. “If he waits too much longer, later will be too late.”

Photos of the action can be found here. 

Contact: Eve Gutman, Earth Quaker Action Team,