Greenpeace activists have undertaken a daring endeavor by scaling the formidable headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. With great determination, they hoisted an expansive yellow banner, bearing a message of protest against the German financial institution’s climate investment policies. This bold action coincided with the eve of the highly anticipated annual shareholder meeting of DWS, Deutsche Bank’s majority-owned asset management company, which has been the subject of intense scrutiny from both activists and regulators. They allege that DWS misled investors regarding their environmentally friendly investments, a charge that DWS vehemently refutes.
At the break of dawn, precisely at 6 a.m. CEST (0400 GMT), the Greenpeace activists unveiled their German-language banner, elegantly unfurling it across the lower expanse of Deutsche Bank’s twin office towers, forming a striking display against the transparent glass facade. The banner’s powerful message, translated as “Force DWS, protect the climate,” echoed through the morning air, capturing the attention of passersby.
The audacious demonstration sparked a modest response from law enforcement, as a handful of police vehicles arrived on the scene. However, the authorities announced that no arrests would be made at that time.
Notably, the resignation of DWS’s former CEO occurred last year amidst investigations into allegations of deceptive practices, colloquially referred to as “greenwashing.” The ensuing leadership change ushered in Stefan Hoops as the new CEO, who is poised to address shareholders during the forthcoming meeting. Hoops, as revealed in a transcript of his prepared remarks on the company’s website, intends to emphasize DWS’s full cooperation with ongoing investigations. Moreover, he will reassert the company’s unwavering commitment to its financial disclosures and fund prospectuses.
Outside the imposing edifice that houses Deutsche Bank, Mauricio Vargas, a Greenpeace finance expert, conveyed a poignant statement to the assembled crowd. He declared, “DWS’s scandal is Deutsche Bank’s scandal,” encapsulating the interconnectedness between the entities. Vargas is slated to deliver a compelling address to the shareholders on the subsequent day.
Responding to Greenpeace’s actions, DWS issued a statement acknowledging the urgent need for decisive action against climate change. However, they expressed a divergence of opinion on the most effective path to achieve this shared goal. DWS contended that while they agree with Greenpeace’s concerns, their strategies for combating climate change differ. The company highlighted its recent adoption of new policies regarding dealings with coal companies, signaling a proactive approach to mitigate environmental impact.
Regrettably, Deutsche Bank has not yet provided a response to requests for comment on this matter, leaving their position undisclosed. Nevertheless, the bank has previously asserted the existence of comprehensive guidelines governing their engagement in carbon-emitting sectors. Additionally, they have expressed a commitment to reducing their exposure to such industries, further underscoring their dedication to environmental responsibility.