ING also has to deal with activists at shareholders’ meetings

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ING is moving to a larger location for the upcoming shareholders’ meeting. Environmentalists have announced that they will ask questions to the bank about climate policy, leading to a larger turnout than expected. Earlier, Ahold Delhaize had to deal with activists during their shareholder meeting.

The meeting, scheduled for Monday, April 24, will now take place in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in the center of Amsterdam. Earlier, shareholders would meet at ING’s head office in Amsterdam Southeast.

ING is forced to choose a larger location for its upcoming shareholders' meeting.
ING is forced to choose a larger location for its upcoming shareholders’ meeting. (ANP / ANP)

Milieudefensie expects about a hundred sympathizers with ING shares to come to the meeting. They will probably ask the board whether the bank will do everything it can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2019. “If it’s evasive, we’ll ask again,” says campaign leader Peer de Rich.

Ahold Delhaize

Last Wednesday, the same strategy at the shareholders’ meeting of supermarket group Ahold Delhaize caused some irritation among other attendees. Because in the opinion of Milieudefensie, CEO Frans Muller did not give a clear answer, activists repeated the question over and over again.

“If the answer is evasive, we ask again”

Peer de Rijk, Friends of the Earth Netherlands

Extinction Rebellion also announces that it will bring about a hundred ‘rebels’ to the ING meeting. A spokesman for the bank says that the directors and supervisory directors present will ‘as always listen carefully to the various questions from our shareholders and will answer them as best as possible’.

Milieudefensie is planning a new climate lawsuit against a large company that is responsible for a lot of CO2 emissions, as a follow-up to the won lawsuit against oil and gas group Shell. The answers of companies during the shareholders’ meetings can serve as evidence. Milieudefensie points out that construction company BAM and car group Stellantis did promise at their meetings to reduce CO2 emissions by 45 percent within seven years.

Important moment

The interest association for smaller investors, the VEB, emphasizes that the shareholders’ meetings of listed companies are an important moment. It is therefore necessary to be able to continue the dialogue during those meetings.

‘It is possible to ask the same question over and over again. The shareholders’ meetings are one of the few occasions of companies that are not directed and directors must hold their own. You don’t have to feel sorry for them,’ says a spokesman. ‘But sticking to a chair like Shell did last year, that’s no longer a dialogue.’

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