Home > Media release: Commbank to face new shareholder resolution after climate policy fail
Media Release

Media release: Commbank to face new shareholder resolution after climate policy fail

14 August 2017

Environmental finance group Market Forces will lodge a new shareholder resolution against Commonwealth Bank after its climate change position statement released today fell well short of its publicly-made 2 degree commitments.

“Commonwealth Bank is not even pretending to make an effort on climate change with the position statement released today,” said Market Forces Executive Director Julien Vincent.

“Unlike the bank’s peers in Australia and overseas that are taking concrete steps to avoid the most carbon intensive sectors, Commonwealth Bank clearly lacks either the interest or competency to fulfil its commitment to help hold global warming below two degrees”

The key points of the position statement are:

  • A commitment to make $15 billion available to “low carbon projects”, less on a per annum basis than CBA’s Australian peers, and
  • An aspirational target to reduce the average emissions intensity of the bank’s business lending portfolio, a target that could be achieved simply by lending to one solar farm.

“These commitments keep the door wide open for Commonwealth Bank to continue lending to projects that expand the scale of the fossil fuel industry. That in itself should be enough to conclude this flimsy document has no relationship with the goal of holding global warming to less than two degrees”, said Mr Vincent.

“We can’t allow a situation to continue where Australia’s biggest company continues to finance a massive fossil fuel industry expansion while feigning interest in a safe climate future. That’s why we’re moving a resolution that would embed climate change risk management into the heart of Commonwealth Bank.

According to Market Forces’ analysis, since Commbank made its 2015 pledge to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement, it has poured $6 billion dollars into the fossil fuel industry, more than four times the amount invested in renewable energy. This trend would not have been altered by the presence of the position statement released today.  

“The new fossil fuel projects financed by Commonwealth Bank will produce enough CO2 over their lifetimes to cancel out Australia’s 2005-2030 emission reduction goal twice over. Undermining Australia’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is hardly the behaviour of a major financial institution apparently on board with the goal of keeping global warming below two degrees.

Click here to see a full analysis of Commonwealth Bank’s 2017 climate change policy

Click here to see Market Forces’ lending data on Commonwealth Bank since late 2015.