ANZ faces new alliance at AGM on the issue of carbon risk
Press release - 15 December, 2011
Darling Harbour, Sydney 16 December 2011: Today a new alliance of polar bears, Greenpeace volunteers and ANZ shareholders joined forces at the bank’s AGM to demand CEO, Mike Smith, come clean on the bank’s new energy policy and its associated carbon risk.
The new alliance, including ethical investment firm, Ethinvest, comes as Smith demands a$3.15 million pay bonus from his shareholders and follows a sustained campaign by Greenpeace. That campaign recently forced the bank to review and publish a new energy policy. However, rather than rule out financing new coal power in Australia it merely says: ‘
emissions’. This fails to provide emission performance standards, timelines or carbon reduction technologies, unlike ANZ’s international competitors.
‘With CEO Mike Smith demanding a multi-million dollar pay rise, the least he could do is show leadership on one of the critical issues of the day – climate change.’ says Erland Howden, Greenpeace campaigner.
“This isn’t rocket science. The bank’s competitors such as BNP Paribas and HSBC – also one the bank’s largest shareholders – have both announced policies that show a clear recognition and management of the risk posed by financing carbon-intensive new coal power plants.[i] ANZ must step into the 21st century and rule out financing new coal power in Australia once and for all,” continued Howden.
Greenpeace and Ethinvest are concerned about ANZ’s lack of adequate climate risk management and disclosure of its carbon-intensive financing. A shareholder resolution put forward by Ethinvest and supported by over 100 shareholders asked ANZ to disclose its financing of carbon-intensive assets and its financed emissions. This resolution was rejected without explanation by ANZ ahead of its AGM.
“We were very disappointed that ANZ management did not put our legitimate concerns to the AGM,” said Trevor Thomas, Managing Director of Ethinvest. “We believe other investors would have supported our call for greater transparency in reporting the Bank’s exposure to coal fired power stations, which represent a live risk to the bank’s bottom line in a carbon constrained world. Shareholders have a right to know the extent of those risks and how the company is managing them,” said Thomas.
Twelve months ago, economic research consultancy Profundo released a report commissioned by Greenpeace that analysed the financing of Australia’s coal industry. It exposed ANZ as the biggest backer and confirmed ANZ’s boast on its website that it was, “the largest financier to the coal industry in Australia and is a major participant in other parts of the world.”
For further comment contact:
Julie Macken, Media Officer – 0400 925 217
Note to Editors:
HSBC Energy Sector Policy – extract
We will not provide financial services which directly support new CFPPs, including expansions, with individual units of 500MW or more and a carbon intensity exceeding:
• 850g CO2/kWh in developing countries;
• 550g CO2/kWh in developed countries. With existing technologies, this may require acceptable
• CCS (carbon capture and storage) plans or material benefits from combined heat and power or biomass.