To:  Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO, TIAA

       Jose Minaya, CEO, Nuveen

       TIAA Board of Governors

       TIAA Board of Trustees

Date:   December 19, 2022

Dear TIAA and Nuveen Leaders:

TIAA-Divest’s research into TIAA/Nuveen’s fossil investment portfolio indicates that TIAA is the 4th largest coal bond investor worldwide, including $91 million in bonds issued by the Adani Group. It is also our understanding that the Adani Group has announced plans to raise additional financing. We are concerned that despite the clear evidence that the Adani group has violated the rights of traditional land holders and continues to cause massive climate and environmental devastation, TIAA and Nuveen may consider taking part in these new Adani offerings. Your participants demand that you resist this temptation. We strongly oppose any investment in any Adani company regardless of the stated purpose for the following reasons.

  • Adani is opening an entirely new coal basin and building the biggest coal mine in Australia’s history. Adani’s Carmichael coal project[1] does not have the consent of Traditional Owners, will drain billions of gallons of precious water resources, increase coal ships in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and turbocharge global warming. The entire project is the subject of one of the biggest community resistance campaigns in Australia’s history. Any company associated with this project faces  major risks to its reputation. 
  • Even worse, Adani is planning to significantly expand their coal business in India – with new coal mines, coal ports and coal plants.[2] According to Global Energy Monitor, Adani is developing more new thermal coal mining capacity than any other private company on Earth. Adani’s coal expansion plans in Australia and India will severely undermine global efforts to stop catastrophic climate change.
  • Adani also plans a major plastics expansion in India, both coal-to-plastics and an ethane cracker plant, to massively increase plastics production. But the world in general, and India in particular, is already reeling from the impact of plastics on waterways, on climate, and on human health.

Both Adani’s coal and chemical/plastics plans represent a major escalation of the impact of fossil fuels on our climate, along with violating Indigenous sovereignty (in Australia), and increasing water pollution, reef destruction, air pollution, and human health harms. 

Other investors and companies are already taking action:

  • US fixed income giant PIMCO, previously a major bondholder in Adani Ports, has banned future investment in the company. [5]
  • Over 100 of the world’s biggest banks, insurers and engineering companies have ruled out any support for Adani’s coal port, rail and mine project. [6]

Adani may approach TIAA to raise funds for solar or other green initiatives, but Adani  companies are interrelated. Adani is likely to use investments in Adani “green” companies to fund their coal and plastics expansion. Adani’s commitment to funding this climate-destroying project with Adani Group funds[3], combined with the Group’s record of shifting funds between subsidiaries in its extremely complex corporate structure[4], means any investment in, or arrangement of finance for, any Adani Group subsidiary risks supporting their massive greenfield coal expansion.

We urge you to avoid any further investment in any Adani company, and to divest now from all of your Adani holdings. Gautam Adani is strongly and increasingly allied with the current Indian government. Ongoing protests in India against an Adani port project, after lasting well over 100 days, are being repressed[7]. Traditional Owners of the land in Australia where the Carmichael mine is sited have engaged in resistance for over 400 days.  The human rights impact of Adani’s activities is morally wrong and affects the image of TIAA.

We call on you to publicly announce your refusal to further Adani’s harmful objectives. Already, hundreds of your most prominent clients are angry at TIAA’s failures on climate[8], as evidenced in their complaint[9] filed with the PRI in October. Over 780 TIAA clients have signed on to this complaint, and the number continues to grow.[9]

As a major investor in Adani you are already complicit in Adani’s coal expansion. You can choose to make the situation better or worse. We urge you to make Adani aware that it should stop construction of the Carmichael coal project. Since it has refused to do so, and given its commitment to the largest coal expansion on earth, we insist you publicly rule out any further investment or arrangement of finance for any Adani Group subsidiary, and commit now to divest your existing Adani investments. As always we will carefully observe your actions with the hope of seeing improvement in your practices.


The TIAA-Divest! Coordinating Committee

[1] Adani Ports, Adani Enterprises, and Atulya Resources all have different ownership stakes in the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, and the related North Queensland Export Terminal (formerly Abbot Point Coal Terminal).