Major shareholder to support first ever climate resolution in Japan
June, 2020: Shareholders with hundreds of billions of assets under management will support a climate resolution at Mizuho Financial Group’s (Mizuho) AGM on 25 June.
In a Japanese first, Kiko Network filed the resolution on March 13, calling on Mizuho to disclose its climate risks and publish a plan to ensure its investments align with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
On April 14, Mizuho released a new sustainability policy, notably signalling an end to directly financing new coal fired power stations, albeit with some loopholes remaining.
Specifically, the new policy only provides targets covering a small fraction of Mizuho’s lending, and does not provide a plan on how Mizuho will align the rest of its investments with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Additionally, the targets provided in the policy are not aligned with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
Indeed, according to the latest research, from 2016 to 2019 alone, Mizuho provided US$4.24 billion in lending and underwriting to coal power. Mizuho even reportedly remains involved in project finance for the controversial Vung Ang 2 coal-fired power station in Vietnam.
“While we applaud Mizuho signalling a move away from coal power, as one of the largest financier of fossil fuels Mizuho remains uniquely exposed to climate risk,” said Kimiko Hirata, International Director of Kiko Network. “Investors have a right to know if the bank has a comprehensive plan to demonstrate how this risk will be managed and how the company will meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. ”
With combined assets under management of almost US$200 billion, Norway’s largest pension fund and life insurance company, Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP), Storebrand ASA and Denmark’s MP Pension have already indicated their support for the resolution. Climate is now high on the agenda of many other major investors, with Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, even publicly criticising Korea Electric Power Corp’s involvement in coal at the end of May.
“Shareholders have recognised that climate risk is investment risk,” said Hirata.
“Mizuho is a supporter of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Banking. It stands to reason investors should back a resolution which presses Mizuho to follow through on its own as-yet-unfulfilled public promises.”
Read the final investor briefing:Mizuho’s disclosure and its business strategy remain insufficient (2020/6/15) (PDF)
Kiko Network - www.kikonet.org
Kimiko Hirata, International Director