Sir Chris Hohn urges shareholders to vote against ‘greenwashing’ bank directors | Hedge funds

Billionaire Sir Christopher Hohn has urged shareholders to vote against bank directors involved in “greenwashing”, and who lobby against climate action.

The hedge fund manager, who once had Britain’s highest salary at £ 1m a day, made headlines when he donated £ 50,000 to climate activist group Extinction Rebellion.

Hohn, who was once Rishi Sunak’s boss at hedge fund TCI, is also one of the nation’s biggest philanthropists, and has pumped billions into his own charity, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

He said: “Any bank making a net zero promise while actively lobbying against necessary climate regulation – such as mandatory disclosure of borrowers’ emissions and climate action plans – is greenwashing. Shareholders should vote against the directors of banks who are hiding their exposure to climate risk. “

Hohn’s statement comes as InfluenceMap, a climate thinktank, found that the world’s 30 largest listed financial institutions are undermining their net zero targets by continuing to fund fossil fuel expansion and lobbying against attempts to align financial regulation with climate goals.

Their report shows the finance sector is reluctant to introduce meaningful fossil fuel exclusion policies and has enabled at least $ 740bn (£ 561bn) of financing for the fossil fuel production sector during the past two years.

According to the analysis, JP Morgan was the biggest enabler of fossil fuel financing with $ 81bn in 2020-21, followed by Citigroup with $ 69bn and Bank of America with $ 55bn. Despite setting a 2030 target to reduce power sector emissions, JP Morgan increased its financing of coal production from $ 1.28bn in 2020 to $ 3.08bn in 2021.

Only seven financial institutions have set thermal coal exit plans in line with the International Panel on Climate Change’s guidelines on keeping heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, and only four (Barclays, BNP Paribas, ING and Société Générale) have committed to reducing their oil and gas exposure by 2025. However, some of these policies contain loopholes allowing for continued fossil fuel financing under certain circumstances.

This is not the first time Hohn has taken a stand on climate change. When he was revealed as XR’s single biggest donor, he said: “Humanity is aggressively destroying the world with climate change and there is an urgent need for us all to wake up to this fact.”

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