By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall
NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N> executives plan to announce new climate-change initiatives on Tuesday, including restrictions on financing coal mining and Arctic drilling, as well as a $200 billion target to provide financing for sustainable projects.
JPMorgan said on Monday that it would detail the initiatives at the bank’s investor day. The bank has faced years of criticism from environmentalists for its relationships with fossil-fuel companies, scrutiny it has sought to avoid at events like its annual shareholder meeting, which are open to the public. (https://reut.rs/38lCdmj)
The bank’s changing approach at its 15th annual investor day, which is invitation-only, comes as other big U.S. banks have announced similar initiatives.
JPMorgan said it will facilitate $200 billion of transactions in 2020 that “support climate action” and advance the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
Those transactions are expected to be a mix of loans, underwriting, advisory services and investments, and will include $50 billion of financing for green initiatives, which was earmarked to count toward a 2017 target.
The bank said it will also stop providing financing for new oil and gas developments in the Arctic, and will expand restrictions on its financing of coal mining and coal-fired power.
Environmental activist group Rainforest Action Network said it welcomed the bank’s new restrictions on providing financing to coal companies, but said the bank could further restrict lending.
“Their coal mining financing represented less than 1% of their overall fossil financing” in recent years, said Jason Disterhoft, a climate and energy senior campaigner with Rainforest Action Network. “We need to see much more from them, particularly in terms of phasing out their fossil financing.”
The bank declined to comment on the amount of previous revenues gained from this type of lending.
Separately, JPMorgan has asked regulators for permission to skip a vote on a shareholder resolution seeking a review of its voting on climate-related proposals put to companies in which it holds stakes. Among other things the bank has argued its board does not directly control proxy voting by its asset management division.
Tim Smith of resolution filer Boston Trust Walden, an investment management firm, said he hopes for an agreement as regulators review the matter. “Let’s see if the two sides can come to an agreement, because the clock is ticking,” he said.
Smith said his firm and another filer agreed to withdraw a similar resolution at BlackRock Inc, <BLK.N> which agreed to further talks with activists. BlackRock did not immediately comment.
(This story corrects third paragraph to say 15th instead of 13th annual investor day)
(Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; additional reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by David Gregorio, Sam Holmes and Richard Pullin)