Climate Change

11 Oct 2022

Investors of Australia's Top Banks Call for Climate Risk Resolutions at AGMs

11 Oct 2022  by   

The logo of the ANZ Banking Group is displayed in the window of a branch in central Sydney, Australia, Aprl 30, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray

Shareholders in Australia's three top banks on Monday called for resolutions at the upcoming annual general meetings asking the lenders how they would avoid financing new or expanded fossil fuel projects.

The country's fourth-largest lender, Australia and New Zealand Banking (ANZ) (ANZ.AX), said the resolution was proposed by shareholders with about 0.01% stake and represented by activist investor Market Forces.

National Australia Bank (NAB) (NAB.AX) and Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX) also said they had received a similar request but did not disclose the name of shareholders who proposed it.

With global investor focus have sharply pivoted towards climate change, banks are under scrutiny for their ties with fossil fuel projects. They have been under pressure to set goals to cut emissions and raise investment in clean energy projects.

Market Forces said in a separate statement it has lodged resolutions with ANZ, NAB and Westpac calling on the banks to stop financing coal, oil and gas expansion projects.

A group of shareholders had filed climate change resolutions with Australia's three of the 'big four' banks last year, asking them to abide by their self-declared support for net-zero emissions by 2050 and stop financing fossil fuel projects. 

Westpac laid out plans earlier this year to reduce lending to coal, oil and gas companies by nearly a quarter by 2030, while ANZ said last year it aimed to lower scope 1 and 2 greenhouse emissions by 35% by 2030. 

Westpac, ANZ and NAB will hold their annual general meetings on Dec. 14, 15 and 16, respectively.


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