Responsible Investing Group Urges Investors to Vote Against Credit Suisse’s Climate Strategy
Credit Suisse published its Climate Strategy today, outlining the bank’s climate-related goals and approach, and including the release of interim financed emissions reduction targets for several carbon-intensive sectors. The strategy was released as part of Credit Suisse’s 2022 TCFD report, alongside the bank’s Annual Report, and will be presented for a consultative vote at the company’s annual general meeting next month.
Following the TCFD report’s release however, responsible investing NGO ShareAction called the climate strategy “unsatisfactory,” particularly due to Credit Suisse’s failure to update its oil and gas policy, and urged investors to vote against the strategy.
The ShareAction call follows the launch of a campaign by the NGO in March 2022, backed by a group of institutional investors, urging Credit Suisse to address its exposure to fossil fuel financing. The group filed a shareholder resolution last year asking the bank to clarify its fossil fuel financing strategy, and provide disclosures outlining its plans to reduce its exposure, along with disclosures on the company’s strategy to align with the Paris Agreement goal to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C.
Following the filing of the resolution, Credit Suisse expanded the scope of its climate-related financing policies with restrictions for financing oil sands, arctic oil and gas and deep-sea mining, and announced that it would bring its climate strategy to shareholders for an advisory vote at its 2023 AGM.
Credit Suisse’s climate strategy includes new 2030 goals for emissions reductions from the bank’s corporate lending portfolio for sectors including Power generation, Commercial real estate, Iron and steel, Aluminum, and Automotive. The targets add to 2030 commitments set last year for the Oil, gas, and coal and the Shipping sectors last year. In its TCFD report, Credit Suisse stated that the goals were formulated using guidance from initiatives including the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF), Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), and that it was in the process of engaging with SBTi to validate its goals.
In its statement today, however, ShareAction Campaign and Project Manager Kelly Shields said that Credit Suisse’s plan “ignores two of the most crucial areas of fossil fuel financing that would have enabled the bank to reach net zero by 2050,” calling for the bank to “urgently update its oil and gas policy,” particularly in relation to fracking, and noting that the plan does not include Credit Suisse’s capital markets activities, which it said represented the bulk of its financing for “top oil and gas expanders.”
Credit Suisse’s TCFD report stated that “While we intend to include capital markets activities in our climate disclosures and 2030 goals, our approach will consider prevailing industry standards and evolve with the future capital markets activities of Credit Suisse Group in connection with the restructuring of our investment bank.”
Calling Credit Suisse’s plan “not fit for purpose,” Shields said:
“The bank must urgently update its oil and gas policy, which is one of the weakest in the European banking sector, with a particular focus on fracking. Until Credit Suisse publishes a timebound plan to incorporate capital markets activities, which represent the bulk of its financing to top oil and gas expanders, in its disclosures and targets, shareholders must continue to press the bank for greater ambition on climate.
“For these reasons, ShareAction is urging investors to vote against the proposal.”