From Climatewire (a subscription service, so no link) today:
Climate-concerned investors were drubbed yesterday in their first bid to push Wall Street banks to end financial support for new fossil fuel development. . .
Activist shareholder groups filed climate resolutions this year at six of the largest U.S. investment banks. The resolutions call on the firms to back their long-term climate commitments with policies that would ensure they do not contribute to the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.
Three of the banks — Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. — held their annual shareholder meetings yesterday, giving investors the chance to weigh in. Just under 13 percent of shareholders backed the fossil fuel-related resolution at Citigroup, while 11 percent supported the proposal at both Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
Those are some pretty weak numbers. Despite the fact that many large banks and investment houses such as Blackrock have committed themselves to the goal of “net zero” emissions by 2050, when it comes time to make actual investment decisions, they are going to go with “realism” instead.
Notably, influential proxy advisers Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that their clients vote against the resolutions. They said the lenders have adopted strong climate commitments already, and that the proposals could infringe on the firms’ ability to protect their shareholders’ best interests.
The banks, for their part, recommended that shareholders vote against the proposals, citing the net-zero commitments they’ve adopted, their ongoing efforts to guide carbon-intensive companies through the energy transition and — in at least one case — concerns about relying too much on the IEA’s analysis.
“We do not believe that conditioning our financing on a single assumption in a single scenario — which itself contains hundreds of other assumptions — is an effective or practical way to manage our lending practices or to further our net-zero goal,” Wells Fargo wrote in its proxy statement.