Standard Bank: We Will Not Be Dictated To By Climate Change Activists Groups

  • Standard Banks CEO, Sim Tshabalala, has hit back at climate change activists saying that the AGM must not be used as an annual forum for policy advocacy and debate.

Speaking at the banking group’s 51st annual general meeting recently, CEO Sim Tshabalala told investors that as much as it is committed to addressing climate change concerns, the bank does not believe it is in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders to let its AGMs be used as “an annual forum for policy advocacy and debate”.

“It is crucially important to affirm the group’s commitment to sustainable human development, to a just transition away from carbon intensive economic activity and to environmental sustainability,” said Tshabalala.

However, he said despite all progress the group has made to be transparent about its financing of fossil fuel transactions, single-issue advocates have been hell bent on dictating the agenda of the group’s AGMs and who it appoints to its board.

Related news: Standard Bank petitioned over East African Oil Pipeline Funding

“In our view, it is not in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders that its AGM become an annual forum for policy advocacy and debate. 

“Yes, in some limited set of circumstances, an AGM may be right venue for the company and its shareholders to consider a policy matter. But in our view, no general or statutory right exists to convert AGMs into forums on company or public policy,” added Tshabalala.

But Shareholder activist group, Just Share said such assertion is “ridiculous” because this argument shows that Standard Bank thinks climate change is an issue of relevance to only few minority shareholders. 

” Standard bank fails to recognise the fundamental importance of this issue for every single one of us. Climate risk is now firmly at the top of the professional investor agenda,” said Just Share executive director, Tracey Davies. Read more

Author: Bryan Groenendaal 

Source: Standard Bank

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