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LONDON: Investors representing assets of US$4.2 trillion have given 63 major banks until August 15 to disclose their lending risk as a result of biodiversity loss and to set science-based nature targets by 2024 or face shareholder action at their next AGMs.

The 115 members of ShareAction, including Aviva Investors, Fidelity International, EOS at Federated Hermes and M&G Investments, suggest the banks are exposed to a range of climate and nature-related risks that could result in stranded, or worthless, assets.

Earlier this year a report revealed that despite the pandemic-induced global recession in 2020, banks have continued to invest in fossil fuel-related companies.

JPMorgan Chase was named the worst bank overall together with the RBC (Canada), Barclays (UK), BNP Paribas (EU), MUFG (Japan) and the Bank of China (China). BNP Paribas provided US$41 billion in fossil financing in 2020, a 41 percent rise over the previous year.

The ShareAction investors are calling for a phase out from coal funding by 2030 in OECD countries and 2040 in the rest of the world. Citing the International Energy Agency’s recommendation in May this year to align any future financing in line with its +1.5 Celsius scenario, the group want the banks to announce they will stop underwriting coal before the COP26 climate conference in November.

“Leading investors have today called on global banks, including those that have already signed up to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, to up the ante of their climate and biodiversity strategies ahead of COP26,” said Jeanne Martin, Senior Campaign manager at ShareAction. “The message from investors is clear: distant net zero targets and warm words about the importance of biodiversity are not enough. Investors want concrete action now, and those banks which fail to respond can expect serious challenges at their next AGMs.”
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