Investors push VW to reveal emissions lobbying
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
A group of Volkswagen shareholders pushes Europe's largest carmaker to reveal its emissions regulation lobbying, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Seven institutional investors from Europe, including the equity fund AP7 managed by Sweden's pension fund, and the Church of England Pension Board, demand that VW include a corresponding passage in its articles of association, and want to have their request put on the group's agenda for its annual shareholder meeting on 12 May. Their combined holdings of VW shares fulfil the quorum to influence the agenda, according to a letter law firm Hausfeld sent to VW on behalf of the investors and seen by the newspaper.
The investors call on VW to disclose which direct or indirect climate change lobbying activities its subsidiaries pursue or support, which associations or interest groups they are members of, and how much money they pay them, FAZ reports. In addition, they ask VW to explain to what extent such activities are intended to reduce the company's risks from climate change, and how they contribute to reaching the Paris Climate Agreement goals. The investors argue that without transparency, VW is hindering its own transition to a climate-friendly strategy and risking its reputation. VW told the paper it could not yet confirm receipt of the letter and therefore could not comment. The company said it would report in detail on its climate protection activities for the first time in accordance with the guidelines of the G20 Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which creates a "uniform framework for reporting climate-related financial risks and opportunities."
VW is considered a frontrunner among German carmakers in the transition to climate-friendly electric mobility. But like its peers, VW says it must finance the shift with the sale of climate-damaging conventional vehicles. The company has said it is open to strict emission reduction regulation, but it is also a member of German car industry association VDA, which has been a vocal opponent.