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Three big asset managers file joint climate resolutions at J-Power

Three big asset managers file joint climate resolutions at J-Power
Three big asset managers file joint climate resolutions at J-Power   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters

By Makiko Yamazaki

TOKYO – Three European asset managers, including the largest, Amundi, said on Wednesday they had jointly filed climate-change resolutions at Japanese electricity generator Electric Power Development Co Ltd, known as J-Power.

In what they say are the first climate-related proposals by an institutional investor group to a Japanese firm, Amundi, hedge fund Man Group and HSBC Asset Management called on J-Power to set credible emissions-reduction targets and to disclose plans to achieve them.

J-Power is Japan’s largest operator of coal-fired power stations.

The move highlights a shift of attention to Japan by major asset managers that have been challenging companies in the United States and Europe over plans to transition to a low-carbon economy. Few Japanese companies have had to deal with such resolutions so far.

The filing followed months of engagement with J-Power about concerns that its current decarbonisation strategy “would see the company lose competitiveness as Japan moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050,” the group said in a statement.

Amundi, Man Group, and HSBC Asset Management have a combined $3 trillion in assets under management. Man Group is the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund company.

A spokesperson for J-Power said its board was discussing how to respond to the resolutions. The company would announce its intentions when decided, he said.

Shareholders will consider the resolutions at J-Power’s June 28 annual general meeting.

Last month, climate activist groups including Japan’s Kiko Network and Australia’s Market Forces jointly submitted shareholder resolutions to four Tokyo-listed companies urging greater commitment to tackling climate change.

The four included Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco.

Under Japanese corporate law, shareholder proposals on climate change would usually have to take the form of an amendment of the company’s articles of incorporation.

Such amendments would require two-thirds majority support, but analysts say companies cannot easily ignore substantial shareholder backing that falls short of the threshold.