21 May 2021
Joint statement by Aeon Investment Management, Abax Investments, Visio Fund Management (Pty) Limited, Just Share NPC and Standard Bank Group
On 20 May 2021, representatives from Aeon Investment Management, Abax Investments, Visio Fund Management (Pty) Limited, Just Share NPC (the “Shareholders”) and Standard Bank Group (“Standard Bank” and together the “Parties”) met to discuss the non-binding advisory resolution proposed by the Shareholders for inclusion at the Standard Bank Group Annual General Meeting scheduled for 27 May 2021 (“AGM”).
For reference, the proposed resolution requested that “the Company and its Directors include, in its reporting to shareholders for the year ending 31 December 2021, the Company’s plans, if any, to set and publish a strategy, and short-, medium-, and long-term targets, to reduce its exposure to fossil fuel assets on a timeline aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement (the “Paris goals”)”.
Standard Bank confirmed at the meeting that:
i) it is committed to publishing a climate strategy and short-, medium-, and long-term targets to reduce its exposure to fossil fuel assets on a timeline aligned with the Paris Goals; and
ii) it will do so as part of the group’s 2021 reporting to shareholders.
The latter will be published in the first half of 2022.
The Shareholders recognise that there are significant challenges associated with the setting of meaningful and credible targets across the 20 countries on the African continent in which the group operates. They were encouraged that Standard Bank has nevertheless committed to publishing a climate strategy in its 2021 reporting to shareholders.
Standard Bank also took the opportunity to resolve a previous misunderstanding with regard to Standard Bank’s position on shareholders’ rights to propose non-binding advisory resolutions. Standard Bank is not opposed to shareholders proposing non-binding advisory resolutions. The Board will give due consideration to any such resolutions. The Parties agreed to engage in a constructive manner on these matters going forward.
Furthermore, it was agreed that Standard Bank would make a formal statement at the AGM expanding on the commitments outlined above.
Tracey Davies, Just Share Executive Director, on behalf of the Shareholders, “The co-filers are pleased that the impasse over the filing of non-binding advisory resolutions has been constructively resolved, and are encouraged by Standard Bank’s commitment to a firm deadline for release of a Paris-aligned strategy for reducing its exposure to fossil fuels”.
Sim Tshabalala, Standard Bank Group Chief Executive, “We’re deeply committed to supporting inclusive and sustainable development and we value and appreciate shareholder engagement on these matters.”
21 May 2021