top of page

The Lowdown Hub

Credit Suisse under investor pressure on fossil fuel finance Shareholder action as study shows slow


A lignite-fuelled power station in Jaenschwalde, Germany. Credit Suisse has lent more than $82bn to fossil fuel companies and projects since the 2016 signing of the Paris agreement © Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg


Credit Suisse is facing shareholder calls to cut its fossil fuel exposure while a new study has revealed European companies’ slow progress on emissions, as pressure mounts on the corporate world to step up its climate efforts.


Investors with €2.2tn under management filed a resolution at the Swiss bank on Wednesday calling for it to slash its exposure to oil, gas and coal assets.


The move came the same day as monitoring group CDP found that European corporate emissions had fallen just 1.5 per cent a year between 2017 and 2019, far below the pace needed to meet the Paris climate goals.


The intervention at Credit Suisse was co-ordinated by charities ShareAction and the Ethos Foundation. ShareAction rallied investors behind a similar resolution filed at HSBC in 2021 that prompted the bank to change its coal policy to avoid a revolt.


Credit Suisse has lent more than $82bn to fossil fuel companies and projects since the 2016 signing of the Paris agreement and is Europe’s top bank for the provision of coal mining finance, according to the two charities.


The bank said it would engage with investors about the proposal and publish information about its fossil fuel exposure in a sustainability report on Thursday.


The analysis of European companies’ emissions reductions, by CDP and consultancy Oliver Wyman, said the slow pace was continuing despite a wave of corporate climate pledges.


Although emissions fell in real terms in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, the drop was consistent with declines in economic and business activity, according to the report based on disclosures from 1,228 companies.