Greenpeace activists climb Deutsche Bank building to protest investment policies

June 14, 2023 - 2:57 PM
FILE PHOTO: People stand next to artist Benjamin Von Wong's art installation unveiled by the Greenpeace International, ahead of a four-day summit of the United Nations Environment Programme on reducing plastic pollution, in Paris, France May 27, 2023. (Reuters/Yonathan Van der Voort/File Photo)

– Greenpeace activists on Wednesday scaled Deutsche Bank’s DBKGn.DE headquarters in Frankfurt and strung a large yellow banner to protest the climate investment policies of the German lender and its asset management company DWS DWSG.DE.

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 that it misled investors about “green” investmentsDWS has disputed the allegations.

The German-language Greenpeace banner was unfurled shortly after 6 a.m. CEST (0400 GMT) 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, 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 CEO, Stefan Hoops, plans to tell shareholders at Thursday’s meeting that DWS has been cooperating with investigations, according to a transcript of prepared remarks 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 on Thursday.

Deutsche Bank and DWS did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of normal business hours.

The German bank has previously said that it has guidelines for its business activities in carbon-emitting sectors and that it has reduced its exposure.—Reporting by Tom Sims, Editing by Rachel More and Jamie Freed