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ANZ, Westpac investors call for climate risk resolutions at AGMs

Oct 10 (Reuters) – Shareholders in Australia’s two top banks on Monday requested resolutions be put forth at upcoming annual general meetings to push the lenders disclose how they would avoid financing new or expanded fossil fuel projects.

Australia and New Zealand Banking (ANZ) (ANZ.AX), the country’s fourth-largest lender, said the resolution was proposed by shareholders holding about 0.01% of its shares and represented by activist investor Market Forces.

No.3 lender Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX) also said it had received a similar request but did not disclose the name of shareholders who proposed it.

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With global investor focus sharply pivoting towards climate change, banks are under intense scrutiny for their ties with fossil fuel projects and they have been pushed to set broader goals towards cutting emissions and investing more in clean energy 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. read more

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. read more

Market Forces, which previously requisitioned climate-related shareholder resolutions at companies including BHP Group (BHP.AX), Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) and Whitehaven Coal (WHC.AX), did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

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Reporting by Jaskiran Singh in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Roushni Nair; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Subhranshu Sahu

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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2022-10-10 02:48:00

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