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Mizuho investors reject shareholder resolution on coal financing

Author: Bloomberg, Published on: 29 June 2020

"Mizuho Investors Reject Shareholder Climate Resolution", 24 June 2020

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. investors rejected a shareholder climate resolution at a annual general meeting...that had placed Japan’s third-largest bank in the spotlight for its financing of coal power projects.

The resolution, which its sponsor said was the first of its kind in Japan, would have required Mizuho to disclose climate risks and publish a plan to ensure its investments are aligned with the Paris Agreement. The Tokyo-based lender said in a statement...it already discloses goals based on the climate pact and that the proposal was “inappropriate.”

The initiative garnered 34.5% of votes cast in advance of the meeting, short of the two-thirds required to pass...Several high-profile global investors supported the motion, including Nordea Asset Management, a unit of Nordea Bank Abp with 235 billion euros ($265 billion) in assets under management, and Norwegian investment giants Storebrand ASA and Kommunal Landspensjonskasse.

...Lenders including Mizuho are financing the construction of plants in Southeast Asia that could lock in coal use for decades...

...[Anti-coal activist group] Kiko Network said it filed the resolution in March because at the time it felt Mizuho had the weakest climate policy among Japan’s megabanks, which include Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. Mizuho strengthened its policy in April and Kiko says it now believes it is the strongest among its domestic peers, while still lagging behind those of global rivals.

Mizuho said in April that it plans to halve its 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in outstanding coal energy project finance by the year starting April 2030 and bring it to zero by 2050. It also aims to stop providing new loans for coal-fired power plants from this month...

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Related companies: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Sumitomo Group