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NatWest to hold first climate policy vote

NatWest to hold first climate policy vote
NatWest to hold first climate policy vote   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters

LONDON -Shareholders in NatWest will for the first time be given a vote on the British bank’s climate policy at its annual investor meeting next month, the bank said on Wednesday.

Shareholders will be asked to back the lender’s climate strategy and its intention to publish a transition plan to align with Paris Agreement climate goals, the state-backed bank said.

Rival Barclays on Tuesday published updated climate targets – including a phase-out from thermal coal financing – after pressure from activists.

NatWest’s CEO Alison Rose made limiting the bank’s impact on the climate a focus of her strategy unveiled in 2020.

The lender said last month it cut lending to oil and gas clients by more than a fifth last year, as part of plans to decarbonise its loan book.

It also aims to halve the climate impact of its financing activity by 2030 and to reach net zero across its operations, financed emissions and assets under management by 2050.

The lender on Wednesday also proposed resolutions that would allow it to buy back 10% of its shares from the market, and 4.99% of directed buybacks from the government – which still owns around 51% of the bank since its 2008 financial crisis bailout.

The bank will hold an in-person investor meeting for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic in Edinburgh on April 28.