Stakeholder activism opens in Japan as Mizuho faces climate resolution

Tuesday 23 June 2020 10:31 CET | News

More investors have been publicly backing a resolution to curb coal project lending that shareholders of Mizuho Financial Group are expected to consider this week.

Aimed at getting Mizuho to align its business to goals of the Paris Agreement to counter global warming, the resolution seeks to push the bank to stop backing for coal projects around Asia, a priority for Japan’s government and big businesses.

If the resolution is passed, it could push Japanese banks to live up to recent commitments to end lending for the dirtiest fossil fuel as climate concerns grow. Thus, advisory groups such as the Institutional Shareholder Services group and Glass Lewis, which advise funds worth more than USD 35 trillion, back the proposal in recommendations seen by Reuters.

PKA, Danish pension fund, has about USD 50 billion under management and will vote in favour of the Mizuho resolution. Swedish pension fund manager AP7, with USD 64 billion in assets under management, also supports the resolution. It joins three investors who reiterated their support, according to Reuters.

BlackRock, which holds about 5% of Mizuho, a stake worth about USD 1.3 billion, declined to comment.

Mizuho’s board opposes the resolution, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass. Japan’s third-biggest bank by assets has already put in place metrics to measure against Paris goals so changing its articles of incorporation is unnecessary, the bank said in its response to the resolution.

Similar shareholder resolutions have succeeded in getting banks worldwide to stop financing coal and other fossil fuels.

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Keywords: Mizuho Financial Group, banking, lending, shareholders, Japan, environment, activism, fossil fuels
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Countries: Japan
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