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Abrahams v. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (2017)
Asia and the Pacific
Data source:
Sabin Center
Court name:
Federal Court of Australia
Reference number:
Case number: VID879/2017
Shareholders of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) sued the bank, alleging that it violated the Corporations Act of 2001 with the issuance of its 2016 annual report, which failed to disclose climate change-related business risks—specifically including possible investment in the controversial Adani Carmichael coal mine. The bank has made no indication that it would report on these risks or disclose its plans for managing them in 2017. The shareholders asked the Federal Court of Australia for a declaration that the bank has violated the 2001 Act and for an injunction either “restraining the bank from continuing to fail to report” on climate change-related risks and its responses, or requiring the bank to report on them. Before the court issued any decision, the shareholders withdrew their suit after the CBA released a 2017 annual report that acknowledged the risk of climate change and pledged to undertake climate change scenario analysis to estimate the risks to CBA's business.

Key environmental legal questions:

Bank's alleged failure to disclose climate change-related risks of its investments
Corporations; Suits against corporations, individuals; Disclosures