JPMorgan battles nuns and activists over climate disclosure proposals

JPMorgan Chase is fighting four climate change-related shareholder petitions with the Securities and Exchange Commission, despite a new policy from the U.S. agency aimed at toughening the stance against attempts to block investor votes.

the the biggest lender to fossil fuel companies, JPMorgan has faced increasing pressure from investors over climate change risk in recent years.

Tulipshare, a London-based investment platform, is the latest to slam the US bank for asking the SEC to reject the fintech start-up’s proposal that the bank would stop investing, underwriting and lending to fossil fuel companies.

JPMorgan was trying to “silence investors on the issue of climate change,” Tulipshare said.

Two other shareholder petitions are asking JPMorgan for new climate disclosures: one asking for information about climate-related lobbying, from the Boston Trust, and the other asking for details about its carbon reduction goals, from the environmental group, the Sierra Club Foundation.

A third proposal, filed by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, asks JPMorgan to adopt a policy this year to help ensure that its funding does not contribute to new fossil fuel supplies inconsistent with the net-zero emissions scenario. greenhouse gas emissions defined by the International Energy Agency.

The bank opposed the petitions on the grounds that the proposals related to “ordinary business” operations.

SEC rules allow companies to block certain shareholder proposals, such as those it says could micromanage business decisions. Companies regularly ask the agency for permission to block proposals.

But last year, the SEC said it would be harder to halt climate-related shareholder proposals in 2022. The regulator change has given a boost to those campaigning for companies to address climate-related concerns. risks related to climate change.

According to law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, a record 12 proposals on environmental issues filed with U.S. companies won majority shareholder support in votes held in 2021.

ExxonMobil succumbed to investor pressure and added three new board members after activist hedge fund Engine No 1 questioned the oil major’s climate risks.

Former ExxonMobil chief executive Lee Raymond was also a longtime member of JPMorgan’s board of directors until his retirement at the end of 2020 after sustained pressure from shareholders. At the bank’s annual meeting that year, just under 50% of investors voted for require JPMorgan will produce a climate plan consistent with the Paris agreement to limit global warming.

SEC rulings on JPMorgan’s shareholder proposals are expected in the coming weeks. The New York-based bank has yet to announce a date for its 2022 annual meeting.

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