Credit Suisse investor rebellion against climate action intensifies ahead of annual meeting

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The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

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  • Aviva Investors supports shareholder resolution
  • Call for faster action to cut fossil fuel funding
  • The group now has 31 people, with combined assets of $5,000,000

ZURICH, April 25 (Reuters) – A group of Credit Suisse investors (CSGN.S) pushing for faster climate action at the Swiss bank has more than doubled in size, increasing pressure on its advisory board. administration ahead of its annual meeting of shareholders on Friday.

Credit Suisse, along with other major banks, is under pressure from investors to stop funding fossil fuel development in order to limit climate change and help companies move away from a low-carbon economy. high carbon intensity.

Eleven Credit Suisse shareholders originally filed a resolution in March urging the bank to reduce its exposure to fossil fuel-related assets. This group, with collective assets of $2.4 trillion, included Europe’s largest asset manager, Amundi (AMUN.PA). Read more

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Credit Suisse has decided to set new targets to reduce emissions related to its loan portfolio, but investors said that did not go far enough. Read more

Now other shareholders have joined the group planning to support climate resolution, including Legal & General Investment Management (LGEN.L) and Aviva Investors (AV.L). There are now 31 investors, with combined assets under management of over $5 trillion, who have pre-declared their support.

Other backers include Switzerland’s largest pension fund BVK, Danish investor Sparinvest, Swedish insurer Folksam, sustainable investor Grünfin and UK public investors Northern LGPS and Border to Coast Pensions Partnership.

The need for faster action to curb emissions has been underscored by UN climate scientists who have said the window for action to prevent the worst effects of global warming is closing fast. Read more

“Given the systemic risk posed by climate change, it is essential that companies such as Credit Suisse act quickly to ensure they are part of the solution,” said Jane Firth, Head of Responsible Investment. at Border to Coast.

“By supporting this shareholder resolution, we hope to see Credit Suisse take concrete steps to ensure that its information and objectives cover all capital market activity, ensuring that it respects a timetable in line with the Paris Agreement.”

The resolution, coordinated by the responsible investment NGO ShareAction and the Ethos Foundation, with the support of the Swiss Association for Responsible Investment, will be the first shareholder resolution of this type to be proposed to a Swiss company.

“We commend the investors who today declared their support in advance of the shareholder-led resolution on climate risk at Credit Suisse,” said Jeanne Martin, senior campaign manager at ShareAction.

“Voting for this resolution sends a strong signal to the bank that investors expect it to publish a science-based climate strategy that covers all of its core funding activities. We call on other investors to follow suit. “

Switzerland’s second-largest bank will be scrutinized on multiple fronts at Friday’s meeting, with proxy advisers recommending shareholders reject a board’s request to absolve executives of fiscal 2020 liability following a series of costly scandals. Another shareholder is a group requesting a special audit of the bank’s actions. Read more

The bank has since also warned that it will report a first-quarter loss on Wednesday. Read more

Norges Bank Investment Management, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, said it would also support the special audit and reject a 2020 liability waiver for Credit Suisse executives, but vote against the climate resolution.

Credit Suisse said on Monday it had taken note of Norges Bank’s recommendations, while highlighting the position of its board, which recommended shareholders vote against the special audit as well as the climate shareholder resolution. .

($1 = 0.7862 pounds)($1 = 0.9322 euros)

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Reporting by Simon Jessop and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi. Editing by Jane Merriman

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