An Australian couple filed a climate lawsuit against one of the country’s “big four” banks on Tuesday, in a test case with international implications.
Shareholders Guy and Kim Abrahams allege the Commonwealth Bank of Australia failed to disclose risks it faces that relate to climate change.
Represented by law firm Environmental Justice Australia, they will argue in the federal court that the bank’s 2016 directors’ report withheld material information. If successful, the claim would force the bank to provide more detailed climate risk analysis.
“We bought Commonwealth Bank shares more than 20 years ago as an investment in our children’s future,” said Guy Abrahams, art consultant and co-founder of non-profit Climarte, in a statement.
“We are deeply concerned about the serious risks that climate change poses to the environment and society. The bank should tell investors about the risks climate change will have on its business.”
His wife Kim, a medical practitioner, added: “The Commonwealth Bank is Australia’s biggest company and should be a leader in responding to climate change and accurately reporting the risks to shareholders.”