Major investor coalition presses Credit Suisse on climate risks

Climate protestors have gathered in front of the Credit Suisse building on several occasions to call attention to the bank's financing of the extraction of coal, oil and gas. Keystone / Ennio Leanza

A group of 11 investors with more than CHF2.2 trillion ($2.4 trillion) in assets has filed a shareholder resolution calling on Credit Suisse to cut its lending to fossil fuel assets.

This content was published on March 9, 2022 - 10:05

Among the investors is Europe’s largest asset manager, Amundi, and the pension funds of the City of Zurich and the Swiss Post.

The shareholder resolution, filed on Wednesday, calls on Switzerland’s second-largest bank to modify its bylaws so that it provides better reporting on its exposure to climate change risks and on its plans to align its financing activities with the Paris Climate Agreement.

“We have been engaging Credit Suisse for many years on this issue,” said Vincent Kaufmann, CEO of Ethos Foundation, which coordinated the investor coalition with the NGO ShareAction. While there has been progress, “it remains the Swiss bank most exposed to fossil energy”.

‘Public commitment’

Ethos wrote in a press releaseExternal link that the investors were very concerned about Credit Suisse’s financial, regulatory, and reputational risks by “continuing to finance activities that appear incompatible with its own goal of aligning its financing with the Paris Agreement objective (limit global warming to +1.5°C)”.

If the resolution is taken to a vote at the bank’s annual general meeting scheduled for April 29, it would be the first climate-related shareholder resolution to be voted on in a Swiss company.

Credit Suisse responded to the shareholder resolution saying that it has been in dialogue with shareholders and would outline reductions to its oil, gas and coal financing in its sustainability report on Thursday.

“We have made a public commitment to achieve net zero across our operations, supply chain and financing activities by 2050," the bank said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

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