Japan’s J-Power says to oppose climate resolution by foreign shareholders

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Electric Power Development Co Ltd (J-Power) said on Wednesday that it has decided to oppose a resolution on climate targets by a group of foreign shareholders as the energy company has already implemented the proposed action.

Two major European asset managers have jointly filed a shareholder resolution at J-Power, Japan’s largest operator of coal-fired power stations, for the second consecutive year.

Amundi and HSBC Asset Management filed the resolution with the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), the non-profit climate group, calling on J-Power to set and disclose credible short and medium-term emission reduction targets, aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“We have already formulated and announced specific plans, including short- and medium-term targets, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” J-Power said in a statement.

Earlier this month, J-Power raised its 2030 emission reduction target by 1.3 million tonnes from 2013 levels, but its president, Toshifumi Watanabe, said at the time that the revision was not in response to the resolution.

Shareholder activism on climate change has been gaining momentum in Japan over the past couple of years and pressure from such proposals has prompted some policy changes at the targeted companies.

The resolution also comes as the Group of Seven rich nations, or G7, last month agreed to speed up renewable energy development, called for a quicker phase-out of fossil fuels and achieving “a fully or predominantly decarbonised” power sector by 2035.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)