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Aberdeen Standard Investments, Westpac & CommBank rebuff government’s attack on the role of environmental groups

Author: Ben Butler, The Guardian, Published on: 11 November 2019

"Global funds management giant rejects Scott Morrison’s attack on activist investors", 8 November 2019

[Aberdeen] Standard Investments has [rebuffed]…the government’s attack on activist investors and the environmental movement. The UK’s biggest listed fund manager… defended the role of environmental groups…accused…of pressurising companies…[This] intervention…comes after bank bosses…told a parliamentary inquiry they did not feel bullied by environmental grounds and rejected the need for changes to the law…

[Morrison] attacked “an escalating trend towards a new form of secondary boycott…”...in which environmental groups “are targeting businesses and firms who provide goods or services to firms they don’t like, especially in the resources sector… some our largest corporations should listen and engage with their quiet shareholders, not just the noisy ones”. An Aberdeen spokeswoman said the company had a “critical role to play in financing the transition to a low-carbon economy, and the adaptation to climate change impacts…”.

The Westpac chief executive, Brian Hartzer, and his counterpart at the Commonwealth Bank, Matt Comyn, both denied they felt bullied by climate activists. [Hartzer]…said [Westpac] made its decisions “…independently” [and] The Commonwealth Ban[k]…said that [it’s] “experience has been that engaging…environmental groups has been to our benefit”.

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