TOKYO, June 29 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
shareholders on Tuesday defeated a proposal for the
bank to align its business with global targets on climate
change, dealing a win for the board over investors pushing for
more action on the environment.
Activist investors in Europe and the United States trying to
halt climate change have successfully compelled companies to
divest their fossil fuel holdings but the tactic has failed in
Japan so far. This is the fourth time since 2020 a so-called
shareholder climate resolution has been defeated after being
brought before a Japanese listed company.
Japanese boards have benefited from the backing of domestic
institutional investors that tend to defer to management.
Mitsubishi UFJ is Japan's biggest lender and backs numerous
coal and fossil fuel projects.
A Mitsubishi UFJ spokesperson confirmed via email that the
resolution failed during its annual general meeting, garnering
about 23% of the shareholder vote.
Mitsubishi UFJ's board opposed the resolution saying the
"essential content" of the proposal "has already been
incorporated into the company's management strategies," with a
recent carbon neutrality pledge and other policy changes.
Non-governmental organizations Kiko Network and Rainforest
Action Network offered the resolution, supported by a number of
shareholders, including EOS at Federated Hermes, which focuses
on sustainable investing.
"While we welcome the recent updates to the company's
policies and the net zero commitment for 2050, we do not believe
these are sufficiently aligned to limiting global warming to 1.5
degrees Celsius," Sachi Suzuki, associated director for
engagement at EOS at Federated Hermes, said in an email.
The 2015 Paris Agreement requires countries to curb carbon
emissions enough to keep average temperature rises to within 1.5
degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of pre-industrial
levels to avert the worst effects of climate change.
Mizuho Financial Group was the first Japanese
listed company to face a climate resolution, with shareholders
last year voting it down. In the last two weeks, Sumitomo
and Kansai Electric Power have fended off
(Reporting by Takashi Umekawa and Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by