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VW Taken to Court by Pension Funds over Climate Lobbying

Volkswagen (VW) is facing legal action from institutional shareholders after withholding climate lobbying details. Investors say the German automobile firm has refused repeated attempts to “reveal crucial information” on its corporate climate lobbying. The Church of England Pensions Board, as well as Denmark’s AkademikerPension and Swedish pension funds AP7, AP2, AP3, AP4, are “concerned” that while VW is “publicly championing” the green transition, they are actually involved in lobbying activities which “run counter to its stated climate ambitions”. Investors most recently tabled an agenda item at VW’s 2022 AGM following “repeated attempts” to access information on potential misalignments, but this item was vetoed by the firm.  Investors say this contradiction exposes VW to “reputational and operational damage” and threatens the security of their investments. The court case will determine if VW has the right to refuse to include the AGM agenda item, including a proposed change to the Articles of Association, on the agenda of the 2023 AGM. Adam Matthews, Church of England Pensions Board’s Chief Responsible Investment Officer, said: “Despite repeated efforts to engage the company to adopt industry best practice it is extremely disappointing to have to turn to the courts to get VW to do the right thing. VW’s intransigence raises serious questions as to what they are scared good governance will reveal”. 

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