SOURCE: Rainforest Action Network

November 22, 2005 07:00 ET

First Investment Bank Joins Growing Ranks of Global Financial Institutions Addressing Urgent Environmental and Social Issues

Goldman Sachs New Environmental Policy First-Ever to Deal With "Ecosystem Services" and Call for Public Policy and Federal Regulation to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 22, 2005 -- Rainforest Action Network today commended Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) for being the first global investment bank to adopt a comprehensive environmental policy. The policy acknowledges the scientific consensus on climate change and calls for urgent action by public policy makers and federal regulators to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The policy is also the first in the financial sector to acknowledge the degradation of global "ecosystems services" addressed in the United Nations' Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA). Ecosystem services include the provision of water and food, control of pests and pathogens, renewal of fertile soil, control of floods, and more. The MA's findings that two-thirds of these services are being degraded present real challenges as well as opportunities for business.

In another industry precedent, Goldman Sachs will establish and fund a Center for Environmental Markets in partnership with academia and civil society. The center will engage in research to develop public policy options for establishing markets around climate change, biodiversity conversation and ecosystem services. Recognizing that climate change cannot successfully be addressed through voluntary action alone, the firm has also committed to promote regulatory solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As a major owner and operator of fossil fuel-fired power plants in the United States, Goldman Sachs has agreed to publicly report and work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its plants while also supporting the need for a national policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The policy states that its investment businesses will "take the lead in identifying investment opportunities in renewable energy" and that it will "be a leading U.S. wind energy developer and generator." It further promises to promote green building standards such as LEED Gold and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification and sustainable forests with a stated preference for FSC.

Similar to recent policies from Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, the firm's commitment includes explicit prohibitions against financing or investing industrial activity in ecological no-go zones and recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples to free, prior informed consultation.

Supporting statements from the following spokespersons are available at www.RAN.org:

Michael Brune, Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network

Ilyse Hogue, Global Finance Campaign Director, Rainforest Action Network

Dr. Walter Reid, Professor, Stanford Institute for the Environment; former Director, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Paul R. Epstein, MD, Center for Health & the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School

Ross Gelbspan, author, "The Heat is On" (1997), "Boiling Point" (2004)

Roger C. Dower, President, Forest Stewardship Council, US

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