Investors are suing Volkswagen for disclosing climate lobby efforts

Volkswagen has been sued by institutional investors in Germany who feared the automaker might be privately lobbying against its green ambitions, despite public pledges to fight climate change.

A group of Swedish public pension funds, Danish AkademikerPension and the Church of England Pensions Board filed a lawsuit in a German court to get VW to place an item about its lobbying activities on the agenda of its annual general meeting.

If successful, the motion would amend VW’s charter to allow disclosure, ClientEarth, a campaign and legal organization supporting the case, said in a statement.

Investors “fear that while the auto giant is publicly committed to the green transition, it may engage in lobbying activities that run counter to its stated climate ambitions,” ClientEarth said. “This potential contradiction exposes the company to reputational and operational damage and calls into question the security of its investments.”

Volkswagen said the plaintiffs’ motion was inadmissible because it would encroach on the powers of the board of directors and shareholders could not legally pass it even if they wanted to. Nevertheless, the company shares the view that climate protection deserves a higher priority in reporting and is currently examining several approaches, it said.

The company already reports on its public affairs activities on a voluntary basis, and climate-related topics are also part of various disclosures, Volkswagen said. All activities are in support of its strategic goals, and a key part of this is support for the Paris Climate Agreement and the European Green Deal, the company said.

Investors have been asking VW about the lobbying issue for several years, but the company refused to release the information, according to ClientEarth. Earlier this year, VW rejected its proposal to put the motion on the meeting’s agenda. Investors are suing Volkswagen for disclosing climate lobby efforts

Fry Electronics Team

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