Continued funding of coal, illegal mining, nuclear weapons: Our countermotion

Re Agenda Item 3: Ratification of the acts of management of the members of the Management Board for the 2021 financial year

The Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany proposes that ratification of the acts of management of the Management Board be refused.

The Management Board of Deutsche Bank AG has failed to uphold its own commitment to comply with international climate targets and sustainable finance.

Lending to the coal industry continues

Despite the tightened 2020 framework for managing environmental and social risks and having signed the climate commitment of the German financial sector and the Net Zero Banking Alliance, Deutsche Bank is still a major lender to companies in the fuel industry. For example, research by the environmental organization urgewald on the global coal industry has found that Deutsche Bank granted loans in an amount of US$3.4 billion to the coal industry during the period from January 2019 to November 2021 and played an important role in underwriting. According to the NGO report “Banking on Climate Chaos” published in March, Deutsche Bank supported coal, oil and gas companies with US$86 billion in financial services over the period from 2016 to 2021:

Whitehaven Coal: Deutsche Bank may finance new coal mines in Australia

In concrete terms, Deutsche Bank was named as a potential bookrunner for the bond issue by the Australian coal company Whitehaven Coal at the end of 2021. According to newspaper reports, the bank had organized a “non-deal roadshow” for Whitehaven after having repeatedly financed the company, which earns more than 80 percent of its revenue from thermal coal and plans to develop new coal mines, in the past, most recently in 2020 with a US$30 million loan.

EACOP: Support for controversial pipeline not ruled out in contrast to other banks

The French oil giant Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation are going ahead with the project to build the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) to transport crude oil from Uganda’s oil fields to the Port of Tanga, Tanzania, on the Indian Ocean. If built, the pipeline would be the world’s longest heated crude oil pipeline and would cause large-scale displacement of local communities, threaten wildlife and emit further greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The outcry against the pipeline is equally large in scale and global. Unlike 15 other banks such as BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, Barclays, HSBC, Credit Suisse and Mizuho, Deutsche Bank has still not publicly stated that it will not be participating in the financing of this controversial and environmentally harmful pipeline. It has left open the possibility that it would finance this project, further tarnishing its reputation.

Financing corporate groups that engage in illegal mining in Brazil

According to a recent study published by the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) together with Amazon Watch, Deutsche Bank holds equity, bonds and loan tranches of mining companies which engage in (still illegal) mining in Brazil’s indigenous territories:

Data for the period from January 2016 to October 2021 shows that Deutsche Bank held equity and/or debt instruments issued by or loans made to the following mining groups:

  • Anglo American: US$46 million
  • AngloGold Ashanti: US$37 million
  • Glencore: 68 million
  • Rio Tinto: US$73 million
  • Vale: US$139 million.

This disregards the commitment to protect the rights of indigenous peoples that the German Bundestag had expressed by ratifying ILO Convention 169. And yet Deutsche Bank itself still touts its intent to reject deals “involving the conversion of primary forests, areas of heightened conservation status, or wetlands” or “that have been shown to involve illegal logging or the uncontrolled or illegal use of fire.”

Controversial Weapons Policy with gaping loopholes

The war in Ukraine has brought to the fore the need for nuclear disarmament. The threat of the use of nuclear weapons represents a profound threat to international security and a dramatic increase in the risk of a massive humanitarian catastrophe. Therefore, financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank should completely distance themselves from supporting nuclear weapons manufacturers. In 2018, Deutsche Bank published its Controversial Weapons Policy. However, new studies by the NGO PAX indicate that Deutsche Bank continues to entertain substantial business relations with nuclear weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon and Airbus:

Loans made to companies such as Raytheon and Rheinmetall also demonstrate that Deutsche Bank also finances defense companies that supply arms to autocratic states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are involved, for example, in hostilities in Yemen violating international law.

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