Environmental Policy Framework


In November 2005, Goldman Sachs established our Environmental Policy Framework, which articulated our belief in the importance of a healthy environment and our commitment to addressing critical environmental issues. At that time, we were one of the first financial institutions to acknowledge the scale and urgency of challenges posed by climate change. In the decade since, we have continued to build upon our commitment to the environment across each of our businesses. See our 10-Year Milestones for highlights of our progress.

Our ten-year juncture offers an opportunity to review progress both within Goldman Sachs and broadly across the market, and identify opportunities for us to do more. Our commitment to helping address critical environmental challenges and promoting sustainable economic growth remains unchanged, while our initiatives and progress will continue to advance. This updated document serves as a roadmap for us in that journey and a foundation on which we will continue to build as we look to the future.

Key Tenets: We believe that a healthy environment is necessary for the well-being of society, our people and our business, and is the foundation for a sustainable and strong economy. We recognize that diverse, healthy natural resources – fresh water, oceans, air, forests, grasslands and agro-systems – are a critical component of our society and economy.

We believe that technological and market innovation, driven in large part by the private sector working in concert with the public sector, is central to positive economic growth and environmental progress. Innovation will continue to play a critical role in solving societal challenges, including those relating to the environment. From advancements in clean technology to resource efficiency and the shared, connected economy, innovation can accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and sustainable future while creating new jobs and greater economic prosperity.

We take seriously our responsibility for environmental stewardship and believe that as a leading global financial institution we must play a constructive role in helping to address environmental challenges. To that end, we will work to ensure that our people, capital and ideas are used to help find innovative and effective market-based solutions to address climate change, ecosystem degradation and other critical environmental issues, and we will seek to create new business opportunities that benefit the environment. In pursuing these objectives, we will not stray from our central business objective of creating long-term value for our shareholders and serving the long-term interests of our clients.

Climate Change: Goldman Sachs acknowledges the scientific consensus, led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that climate change is a reality and that human activities are responsible for increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. We believe that climate change is one of the most significant environmental challenges of the 21st century and is linked to other important issues, including economic growth and development, poverty alleviation, access to clean water, food security and adequate energy supplies.

Delaying action on climate change will be costly for our natural environment, to humans and to the economy, and we believe that urgent action by government, business, consumers and civil society is necessary to curb greenhouse gas emissions. How governments and societies choose to address climate change will fundamentally affect the way present and future generations live their lives. Markets are particularly efficient at allocating capital and determining appropriate prices for goods and services. Governments can help the markets in this regard by establishing a clear policy framework that, among other things, provides transparency around the costs of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and creates long-term value for GHG emissions reductions and investments in new technologies that lead to a less carbon-intensive economy. In addition to mitigation, which is a critical component of any strategy, governments and societies need to improve adaptability and strengthen resiliency as part of a comprehensive solution.

We recognize that we have an impact on the environment through our operations, our investments, and the production and services we finance on behalf of our clients. As an institution that brings providers and users of capital together, we believe that capital markets can and should play an important role in addressing environmental challenges including climate change.

To that end, we are committed to catalyzing innovative financial solutions and market opportunities to help address climate change. The Environmental Policy Framework articulates our initiatives across each of our business areas. The following are key highlights:

  • Climate Mitigation: We will expand our clean energy target to $150 billion in financings and investments by 2025 to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. To increase access to climate solutions, we will launch a Clean Energy Access Initiative that will target the deployment of clean energy solutions, such as distributed solar and clean cookstoves, to underserved markets. We will look to facilitate the efficient development of carbon markets and other climate-related market mechanisms as opportunities emerge.

  • Climate Adaptation: We will help our clients more effectively manage exposure to climate impacts through capital market mechanisms, including weather-related catastrophe bonds, and identify opportunities to facilitate investment in infrastructure resiliency. We will also seek opportunities to promote financings and investments to address growing water and wastewater infrastructure needs. Where feasible, we will look to harness green infrastructure solutions such as forests as a complement to traditional infrastructure.

  • Climate Risk Management: We will conduct a carbon footprint analysis across our Fundamental Equity business in Goldman Sachs Asset Management and work with our clients to analyze and understand the impacts of their portfolios. Across relevant advisory, financing and investing transactions, we will continue to apply a high standard of care in our Environmental and Social Risk Management, which includes guidelines and enhanced review of carbon intensive sectors (e.g., coal power generation, coal mining, oil & gas, forestry and palm oil) as well as climate change-related risk factors.

  • Climate Approach in Our Operations: We will minimize our operational impact on climate change, strengthen our operational resiliency, and seek smart, sustainable solutions. We will achieve carbon neutrality across our own operations from 2015 onwards and target 100 percent renewable power to meet our global electricity needs by 2020. We will also target $2 billion in green operational investments by 2020.