Standard Bank shareholders asked to make the bank greener

Coal, which is major fuel for generating electricity, accounts for 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, a key gas responsible for global warming. AFP/File/Barbara LABORDE

Coal, which is major fuel for generating electricity, accounts for 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, a key gas responsible for global warming. AFP/File/Barbara LABORDE

The bank is looking to become more environmentally responsible.

Standard Bank shareholders have been encouraged to vote for a resolution for the bank to assess and report back on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change risks resulting from its lending and investing.

Proposed by the Raith Foundation, shareholder activist Theo Botha and supported by nonprofit shareholder activism organisation Just Share, the resolution will be tabled at the bank’s annual general meeting on May 30 – the first climate risk-related shareholder resolution to be tabled in the country.

The bank’s board has, however, recommended shareholders vote against the resolution, which sets the bank out to “report to shareholders by the end of November its assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions”.

This includes the amount and percentage of carbon-related assets relative to the bank’s total assets.

The resolution also sets out for Standard Bank to adopt and publicly disclose a policy on lending to coal-fired power projects and coal mining operations.

According to Just Share, “shareholders should be able to assess the extent to which Standard Bank is exposed to climate risk by virtue of its lending, investment and financing activities.

The information currently disclosed by the company is insufficient to enable shareholders to adequately assess these risks.” – rorisangk@citizen.co.za

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