The investment arm of HSBC Holdings is ahead of peers in backing shareholder resolutions designed to force oil majors to adjust their business in response to climate change, according to an analysis by a key activist.
The fund management unit of HSBC, which is Europe's biggest bank, was the only large British investor to support climate resolutions at all oil majors in the recent proxy season, according to a report from Follow This.
"HSBC is the only true steward of the global economy in the U.K. top 10," Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This, said in a statement published Monday. "Their peers enable most oil majors to continue to cause climate breakdown."
For fund managers that emphasize environmental, social and corporate governance issues when investing, voting at shareholder meetings is seen as a key lever to push portfolio companies to change. Such votes are also coming under increasing scrutiny from activists trying to draw attention to ESG issues.
Follow This has put forward shareholder proposals at Shell, BP, TotalEnergies, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, requesting they set targets for cutting Scope 3 emissions in the medium term, and that they align with the goals of the Paris accord. None of the resolutions received sufficient shareholder support to be adopted.