Japan’s SMFG, Tepco and Mitsubishi face votes from climate activists at general meetings | Investment News

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Major Japanese companies including Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) and Mitsubishi Corp will face activist shareholder resolutions calling for greater commitment to tackling climate change at their annual meetings this year.

Five climate activist groups, including Japan’s Kiko Network and Australia’s Market Forces, said in a joint statement on Wednesday that they had submitted shareholder resolutions for consideration at the general meetings of four listed companies in Tokyo this year. Utility Chubu Electric Power completes the quartet.

Activist investors are increasingly turning their attention to Japanese companies, using resolutions that have been rolled out in Europe and the United States to stop companies and banks from investing in or financing fossil fuel infrastructure.

Lifetime emissions from 10 liquefied natural gas (LNG) power projects involving the four companies are estimated at 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide or its equivalent, the groups said.

That’s nearly double Japan’s absolute emissions reduction target for 2030 under its nationally determined contributions to achieving the Paris climate accord, they said.

SMFG, Tepco and Chubu Electric all confirmed they had received the shareholder resolutions, saying their boards planned to discuss them.

A spokesperson for trading house Mitsubishi said the company would discuss and respond to the proposal as appropriate.

Last year, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s largest bank, and trading house Sumitomo Corp faced similar climate resolutions, although the proposals were rejected.

Mizuho Financial Group became the first listed company in the country to hold such a vote in 2020. The resolution was defeated despite garnering 35% support.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki, Yuki Nitta and Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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