JPMorgan Chase shareholders defeat call for greater disclosure of climate change to the world’s largest funder

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On Tuesday, the call for more information on lending activities that affect climate change was narrowly rejected.
The proposal was one of six resolutions, all opposed by the company, which were rejected by shareholders at the annual meeting. The environmental resolution received 48.6% of the votes from investors in the bank, which is the main lender in the oil sector, beforehand.

Despite the defeat, environmental activists argued that the close call reflected increased shareholder interest in the bank’s growing recognition of the risks associated with accelerating human-caused climate change. Globally, climate change losses are expected to be between $ 150 billion and $ 790 billion by 2100, according to some measures.
As You Sow, an environmental and corporate social responsibility group, wanted the lender to publish a report “outlining if and how it intends to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with its lending activities by alignment ”with the global temperature targets established by the Paris Agreement. The Paris Pact called for keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.

The company also opposed the latest resolution, declaring to shareholders in its proxy that it “prioritizes its commitment to finance sustainable development” and “supports companies that are working on the strategic transition to a lower emission economy of that manage environmental and social risks responsibly. “
JPMorgan is the world’s largest fossil fuel financier, injecting more than $ 268.5 billion into space from 2016 to 2019, averaging about $ 67 billion a year.
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Earlier this year, the bank announced that it would end or phase out loans to certain interests in fossil fuels, including those engaged in Arctic drilling and coal mining. JPMorgan then said it would aim to facilitate $ 200 billion in environmental and economic development agreements. But ongoing funding from major oil companies has further irritated environmentalists and some shareholder groups.
With nearly 50% of the vote, “shareholders sent the message today that it is time for Chase to catch up with his peers, implement a strategy to decarbonize and reduce the risk of his loan portfolio, and help build a safer future for all, ”said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow.
As You Sow withdrew similar climate proposals with other big banks – Wells Fargo & Co.
WFC,
-5.74%

Morgan Stanley
SP,
-2.35%

, Bank of America Corp.
BAC,
-3.14%

and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
GS,
-2.22%

– after the banks have agreed to recognize the urgency of finding systems for measuring the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their financing activities in order to align with the Paris objectives. Leading European counterparts BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, BBVA, Standard Chartered and ING, with a combined portfolio of $ 2.7 trillion, have pledged to reduce the climate impact of their loans in line with Paris’ climate targets. More recently, Barclays, Europe’s largest fossil fuel financier, has announced plans to align its funding with the Paris Climate Agreement and set a target for zero net emissions.
Fugere, who spoke at the annual meeting, also said that she believed the rising interest in the shareholders’ climate was linked to growing concerns about COVID-19. “The investment community has not missed the parallels between COVID-19 and the global disruption that followed. The significant shareholder support for this proposal underscores their position that banks are as responsible as any other business for taking climate science into account and taking swift action to reduce systemic and growing risks, “she said. declared.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has criticized President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Pact. Dimon also said that the climate change initiatives set out in the Democrats’ Green New Deal were pushing too quickly toward complete decarbonization of the US economy.
The bank announced on Tuesday that it is offering “transparent disclosure” of its strategy and performance on environmental, social and governance issues via its website and directly to shareholders.
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Also at the annual meeting, a resolution calling on the chairman of the board to be “an independent member of the board whenever possible” garnered 42% of the vote. Jamie Dimon is both CEO and President, and Lee R. Raymond, former President and CEO of ExxonMobil Corp.
XOM,
-3.08%

, is the main independent director.
The company asked for a “no” vote on the resolution, stating to shareholders in a proxy: “The board of directors reviews and evaluates its management structure annually. For 2020, the Board of Directors has decided to maintain a combined role of President and CEO. “
Raymond Pensions & Investments has criticized some large pension funds, a group of state treasurers and environmental groups for its track record in fossil fuels. Critics say his status as a senior independent director raises questions about the bank’s commitment to improving the environment.
The company announced in a filing with the SEC on May 1 that it would choose a successor to Raymond, who has been a lead independent director since 2001, in this role “by the end of the summer.” The lead independent director is chosen by other independent directors on the board.
JPM shares are down 36% from the start of the year and down about 20% from last year. Dow Jones industrial average
DJIA,
-1.58%

is down 6% in the past year.
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