Giant investors back climate change financing proposal at Bank of America AGM

Support for the Sisters of the Holy Names’ resolution

It’s emerged that some of the world’s largest investors have put their weight behind a shareholder proposal focusing on climate change financing at Bank of America.

The resolution – filed by faith investor the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and others – asked the bank to report on the greenhouse emissions resulting from its lending portfolio and its exposure to climate change risk.

It was voted on at the bank’s annual general meeting yesterday (May 8), receiving the backing of major institutions such as Norges Bank Investment Management, the California Public Employees Retirement System, the Florida State Board of Administration and Dutch giants APG and PGGM, according to voting disclosures.

The latter summed up its reasons for supporting the proposal, saying “the company could provide shareholders with additional information about its environmental risk assessment processes for its lending operations and more comprehensive disclosure of its exposure to climate change risks.”One investor that did oppose the Sisters’ motion was the California State Teachers Retirement System. A CalSTRS spokesman told Responsible Investor: “Our review of the proposal and supporting materials indicated that Bank of America had adequately addressed its climate change risk.”

The bank opposed the proposal, stating that it already provides the information. But the investors had argued that the disclosures don’t go far enough.
Earlier, investors marshalled by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) had written to the bank asking it to reconsider its opposition to the resolution. The bank said yesterday that all shareholder resolutions at the AGM were defeated.
Meanwhile, there was more than 30% support for sustainability boutique Arjuna Capital’s resolution on methane leakage at Occidental Petroleum’s AGM in Houston on May 2. Arjuna has filed similar proposals at three other companies which are going to a vote this month at Southwestern Energy, Range Resources and Targa Resources.