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Bid to ‘silence shareholders’ fails

Lachlan Maddock
— 1 minute read

The SEC has ruled that a shareholder proposal a global investment bank has sought to block must go ahead.

The shareholder proposal, put forward by activist group As You Sow, seeks to ask “if and how” JPMorgan Chase “intends to reduce the GHG emissions associated with its lending activities in alignment with the Paris Agreement’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050”. 

JPMorgan has yet to agree to any specific commitment to measure its carbon footprint or align it with the Paris goals, despite introducing a host of environmental measures earlier this year.

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“JPMorgan’s recent announcement to reduce financing of coal mining, certain coal-fired power plants, and Arctic project financing, which represents less than 1 percent of its current financing, is an important first step, but not sufficient to outweigh its other fossil fuel financing activities,” As You Sow president Danielle Fugere said.

“The global financial system has a small window of opportunity to reduce financing of high-carbon activities or risk catastrophic levels of global warming. Banks no longer have a free pass to fund high-carbon activities without regard to the impact of their actions.”

As You Sow has withdrawn similar shareholder resolutions this year at Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America after each bank committed to assessing ways of measuring their full carbon footprints toward alignment with the Paris goals. 

Wells Fargo has made the strongest commitment to report on its progress in evaluating and measuring its lending emissions in order to inform an effort to set science-based targets. 

“With a number of clients co-filing this important resolution, we are pleased to see that major banks such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs are recognising the importance of measuring their financed emissions – greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their financing activities – and taking steps to measure their progress toward Paris alignment,” said Tim Smith, director of ESG Shareowner Engagement at Boston Trust Walden.

 

Bid to ‘silence shareholders’ fails
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