Greenpeace activists scaled Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt Wednesday and strung up a large yellow banner to protest against the climate investment policies of the German lender and its asset management company DWS.
The action came a day ahead of the annual shareholder meeting of DWS, which is mostly owned by Deutsche Bank and has drawn attention from activists and regulators over allegations it misled investors about “green” investments. DWS has disputed the claims.
Deutsche Bank (DB) said sustainability and climate protection were “strategic priorities,” and that it supports DWS in the development of its sustainability policies and standards.
The German-language Greenpeace banner was unfurled shortly after 6 a.m. local time (midnight ET) and stretched across part of the glass facade on the lower section of Deutsche Bank’s twin office towers. The banner translated as “Force DWS [to] protect the climate!”
The event drew a half dozen police vehicles, but an officer said there would be no arrests.
Last year, the chief executive of DWS stepped down after raids by prosecutors over the allegations of so-called “greenwashing.”
The new DWS CEO, Stefan Hoops, plans to tell shareholders at Thursday’s meeting that DWS has been cooperating with investigations, according to prepared remarks posted on its website. The company also continues to stand by its financial disclosures and its fund prospectuses, Hoops will add.
Mauricio Vargas, a Greenpeace finance expert who was standing outside Deutsche Bank’s headquarters, said: “DWS’s scandal is Deutsche Bank’s scandal.” He plans to address shareholders Thursday.
DWS said in a statement that it agreed with Greenpeace that climate change required decisive action but disagreed on “how to get there.” It said it had recently adopted new policies on dealing with coal companies.