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Activist: JPMorgan aiming to exclude climate change proposals from proxy

JPMorgan Chase & Co. notified investors who filed three separate resolutions related to the company's financial backing for the fossil fuel industry that it will seek to omit their proposals from its 2020 proxy, according to the activist investor group Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, or ICCR.

Advocates of the resolutions are appealing to the Securities and Exchange Commission to have JPMorgan include the proposals and are seeking shareholder support at the bank's annual meeting in May, the ICCR said. The group also pointed to a 2019 Banking on Climate Change research report calling JPMorgan the "largest financier" of the fossil fuel industry.

When contacted, a JPMorgan spokesperson declined to elaborate on the company's positions beyond what it has said in filings previously. In a climate report in May 2019, the bank said it seeks to "promote sustainable business practices" and that it has "taken steps to restrict financing for some of the most carbon-intensive activities." But it also said the transition away from carbon "will also likely require continued use of many fossil fuels."

The three proposals ask the bank to provide shareholders with a report on reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to its lending activities and a report on its financing of energy projects in the Arctic and the Canadian tar sands, as well as adopting a new proxy voting policy related to climate change. The proposals are being submitted by the As You Sow Foundation, Trillium Asset Management LLC and Boston Trust Walden Inc., respectively.

Recently, the nonprofit group Majority Action tried to use shareholder voting to remove JPMorgan board member Lee Raymond, who was the chair and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp.