Financial services provider Standard Bank Group has welcomed the reappointment of all its nonexecutive directors, including those who were alleged to be climate change conflicted by activist organisation Just Share.
Standard Bank earlier in June reiterated its commitment to a climate-related risk approach and defended its board members, after Just Share questioned the election or re-election of certain directors that it said had ties to fossil fuel operations.
At the time, Just Share said seven of Standard Bank’s 18 board members were conflicted on climate change-related matters by virtue of their ties to the fossil fuel industry and urged that they not be re-elected to the board at the bank’s annual general meeting (AGM).
Just Share stated that five of the seven directors offered themselves for re-election, and they have been re-elected, according to Standard Bank’s latest statement.
Standard Bank said its directors bring a diverse set of skills and experience, across a range of industries, and are valuable members of the board with a proven record of leadership and integrity.
The bank added that nonexecutive directors inevitably serve on the boards of different companies and that a director’s conflict of interest is governed by the Companies Act and arises in instances where the board has to take a decision in respect of a company a director may have an interest in.
Further, Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala told investors at the bank’s AGM on June 26 that 86% of the group’s total underwriting of energy transactions since 2012 had been for green energy.
The company also supports the Paris Agreement and Equator Principles, while being founding signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking.
Standard Bank arranged more than 40% of all green bonds issued in Africa in 2019.
Tshabalala said the company had stringent policies on lending to coal-fired power projects and to coal mining operations and planned to publish its first disclosures on climate-related financial risk later this year.