Investors with nearly $200 billion in assets holding shares in Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group say they plan to back a shareholder motion urging the bank to cut its lending for coal and other fossil fuels, they told Reuters on Friday.
In an unusual showing of hands weeks before Mizuho’s annual general meeting in June, Norway’s largest pension fund and life insurance company, Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP), Storebrand ASA and Denmark’s MP Pension said they would support Japan’s first climate change resolution.
It marks the first time a Japanese publicly traded company has faced a shareholder climate change resolution.
While they represent only a fraction of shareholding rights their support for the resolution brought by Kiko Network, an activist group and shareholder in the bank, the investors’ support adds to the pressure on the bank, which has already tightened its lending policies but critics say more is needed.
“As we await new strict coal and fossil fuel policies from Mizuho, we will without a doubt support the new climate change-based shareholder resolution … at this year’s annual general meeting,” said Jeanett Bergan, head of Responsible Investment at KLP, which has more than $80 billion of assets under management.
The resolution sent to Mizuho management last month calls on the bank to outline a plan and set targets so that its business practices are more in line with the Paris Agreement, the global pact to fight climate change.