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Credit Suisse announces 'Say on Climate' plan - ShareAction response

Credit Suisse commits to new sectoral targets for cutting emissions, but fails to close key loopholes in fossil fuel policy

(Tuesday 14th March) Today Credit Suisse published its new climate strategy (‘Say on Climate’ plan), which it will put to an advisory vote to shareholders at its 2023 AGM. As part of the plan, Credit Suisse set five additional emissions reductions targets for the power generation, commercial real estate, iron and steel, aluminium, and automotive sectors.

The bank slightly improved transparency through some additional disclosures around its Client Energy Transition Framework (CETF). However, despite indicating an intention to do so on an undefined timeline, it failed to incorporate capital markets activities in its disclosures and targets, or update its oil and gas policy.

Responding to the plan, Kelly Shields, Campaign and Project Manager at ShareAction, said:

“Credit Suisse’s new climate strategy is not fit for purpose – it ignores two of the most crucial areas of fossil fuel financing that would have enabled the bank to reach net zero by 2050.

“The bank must urgently update its oil and gas policy, which is one of the weakest in the European banking sector, with a particular focus on fracking. Until Credit Suisse publishes a timebound plan to incorporate capital markets activities, which represent the bulk of its financing to top oil and gas expanders, in its disclosures and targets, shareholders must continue to press the bank for greater ambition on climate.

For these reasons, ShareAction is urging investors to vote against the proposal. As the bank restructures it has a vital opportunity to ensure its sustainability commitments are at the core of its business and are ambitious enough to tackle the worsening climate crisis around the world.”

Last year, ShareAction and Ethos Foundation co-filed a shareholder resolution with 11 institutional investors in Credit Suisse, who represented 2.2€ trillion in assets under management, calling on the bank to improve its climate disclosures, emissions reductions targets and fossil fuel policies.

Credit Suisse responded by offering shareholders an advisory vote on its climate report in 2023. ShareAction warned that this did not adequately address the concerns raised by the resolution, which requested concrete climate commitments and to embed sustainability in the bank’s articles of association, requiring the bank to deliver on its net zero goal despite changes in governance structure.

The Swiss bank is now undergoing radical organisational restructuring. The bank’s past failures to manage risk adequately have led to the difficult position it is in today. Fully embedding climate change into its processes presents an important commercial opportunity for the Group.

ShareAction is calling on investors, who have been given just three weeks to assess the plan, to use their voting rights to signal that the current level of ambition demonstrated by Credit Suisse on climate is unsatisfactory at its AGM on 4th April.

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