In a first for a South African company, Nedbank’s board has tabled its own shareholder resolution on climate risk.
Nedbank is also the first and only South African financial institution that has completely excluded the financing of new coal-fired power plants, says nonprofit responsible investment organisation Just Share.
“By tabling its own shareholder resolution on assessment and disclosure of climate risk, Nedbank’s board has sent a clear message to the financial sector, shareholders and regulators that climate risk is real, important and urgent,” says Just Share director Tracey Davies.
Nedbank’s shareholders and stakeholders, which include Just Share, will vote on the resolution at the bank’s annual general meeting on May 22.
The resolution requires 50% shareholder approval to pass.
Nedbank’s proposed resolution includes that, by April 2021, it will adopt and publicly disclose an energy policy aimed at playing its part in enabling the transformation over time of the energy system by making finance flows consistent with low-emission and climate-resilient development.
Additionally, by April 2021, the bank wants to report on its approach to measuring, disclosing and assessing its exposure to climate-related risks, including its exposure to oil- and gas-related activities as a percentage of total advances.
Nedbank is also the first and only South African financial institution which has completely excluded the financing of new coal-fired power plants, regardless of technology or location, a decision which it took in 2019, Davies points out.
This position is confirmed in Nedbank’s recently released financing policy on thermal coal-related activities.
Standard Bank, Absa, Investec and FirstRand have all released coal financing policies that place stricter parameters on the funding of new coal-fired power, but only Nedbank has ruled it out completely, Davies highlights.
The bank joins a growing list of international banks, including Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse, that have done so.
Nedbank also discloses in its 2019 integrated annual report that 0.7% of its group advances were for thermal coal lending in 2019, and that it has set a target to reduce thermal coal lending to 0.5% of group advances by 2030.
The percentage of group advances for renewable energy in 2019 was 3.9%.