Investors say banks must toughen climate policies or face AGM rebellion – letter
- Investors call for pledge to phase out coal lending
- Require short-term goals before the next AGM
- You want loans aligned with the IEA’s net zero scenario
LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) – Investors with $ 4.2 trillion on Wednesday called on some of the world’s biggest banks to toughen their climate and biodiversity policies or risk rebellions at their next annual meetings.
The 115 investors, including Aviva Investors and M&G Investments, said they wanted banks to take more action to tackle climate change by aligning their loans with the Paris Climate Agreement.
While many banks have already signed up to voluntary initiatives such as the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), investors say faster change is needed.
The letter, coordinated by ShareAction activists, was addressed to 63 banks, including HSBC (HSBA.L), Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and NatWest (NWG.L).
It precedes the COP26 climate discussions, with governments being invited to set more ambitious emission reduction targets.
A May report from the International Energy Agency said there should be no more new fossil fuel projects after this year for the world to meet its goal of net zero emissions by 2050. read the after
In addition to calling for a commitment to phase out lending to coal companies by 2030 in OECD countries and 2040 elsewhere, the investor group said it wanted every bank to commit before the COP26 to reduce loans to customers planning new coal projects.
While NZBA signatories have agreed to start setting climate targets by the end of next year, investors have said they want to see 5-10 year targets in place ahead of annual general meetings. companies next year.
Banks should align their climate plans with the IEA’s net zero scenario or a similar scenario, they said.
Finally, and ahead of the next United Nations conference on biodiversity in China in October, investors called on banks to commit to publishing a biodiversity strategy.
Investors have said they want to see a response by August 15.
“Progress on these issues can be reflected in the voting actions and investor engagement activities at the 2022 AGM, such as voting on special and ordinary resolutions,” the letter said. to investors.
In response, a spokesperson for HSBC said: âWe look forward to continuing our engagement with ShareAction and providing a constructive response to their letter in a timely manner. “
StanChart said it has made major strides in its coal policy in recent years and pledged to submit its transition strategy to a shareholder advisory vote next year, while NatWest also highlighted recent policy progress.
Banks, including HSBC and Barclays, have stepped up their climate change policies over the past year in response to pressure from ShareAction and other groups. Read more
Reporting by Simon Jessop and Lawrence White; edited by Philippa Fletcher
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