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More TD Bank shareholders demand 'credible' details on climate change plans

TD Bank signage is pictured in the financial district in Toronto, Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. TD Bank Group says it expects to earn about 30 per cent less from its Charles Schwab Corp. holdings in its results next month than last year, as U.S. banks report earnings.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj
TD Bank signage is pictured in the financial district in Toronto, Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj) (The Canadian Press)

More TD Bank (TD.TO)(TD) shareholders want additional details on the lender’s plan to shift business practices to address climate change. At its annual meeting on Thursday, a proposal calling for added clarity received about five per cent more support than a similar request in 2023.

Investors for Paris Compliance, Nomura Asset Management UK, AP Pension, Vancity Asset Management, and Green Century Capital filed the proposal this year. It asks TD how it will align its financing with its 2030 sectoral emissions reduction targets. The group wants the bank to spell out specific policies, timelines and associated emissions reductions.

TD says its climate action plan adequately describes the bank’s activities, including disclosures recommended by the Glasgow Financial Alliance on Net Zero.

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“Canada’s banks, including TD, are misaligned with net zero, and are not giving investors or the public credible plans to change this,” Investors for Paris Compliance director of research and policy Kyra Bell-Pasht said in a statement following Thursday’s vote.

The proposal received support from 28.6 per cent of voters represented at the meeting, short of the required majority to pass. Last year, a similar proposal garnered 23.5 per cent support.

“This growing show of support from shareholders signals to management that they remain concerned about how the bank will manage its growing climate transition risk,” Bell-Pasht added.

Speaking at Thursday’s annual meeting in Toronto, CEO Bharat Masrani said TD is making “good progress” on the bank’s transition and sustainability goals, while working with clients across its international footprint.

In her remarks at the meeting, Bell-Pasht said she has seen no progress from the bank in disclosing measures it will take to reach its stated emissions targets.

At the same time, she noted a recent report where TD booked the biggest annual jump in fossil fuel financing. Another study released last December by BloombergNEF ranked TD last out of 100 global banks for its ratio of lower-carbon energy financing versus fossil fuel financing.

“It remains unclear to us whether TD will stop doing business with clients that are expanding their fossil fuel production,” Bell-Pasht said. “Customers may lose trust in the green bank, especially as they see other Canadian banks taking small, meaningful steps and disclosing their net-zero strategies.”

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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