"We recognize the importance of the issues reflected in the shareholder proposal and have steps underway to address them," said Amy Hayes Davidsen, director of JPMorgan Chase's newly established Office of Environmental Affairs. Ms. Davidsen's appointment and the establishment of the new office were announced on March 30, 2004. She is responsible for focusing on environmental matters as they relate to JPMorgan Chase, and will lead a firm-wide committee to establish global policies and procedures regarding environmental issues. In addition, she will work with governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations to help JPMorgan Chase meet its responsibilities as an environmentally-sensitive corporate citizen.
The shareholder proposal had been submitted by Christian Brothers Investment Services, Trillium Asset Management and Domini Social Investments and requested that the board of directors review the role of JPMorgan Chase as an underwriter, lender and financial adviser for transactions in environmentally and/or socially sensitive sectors. The firm was asked to consider incorporating criteria related to a transaction's impact on the environment, human rights and the potential to impact JPMorgan Chase's reputation into its review, and to report its findings to shareholders by October 2004.
The following summarizes the shareholder groups' position:
- JPMorgan Chase has been involved in financing companies and projects in environmentally and/or socially sensitive sectors such as dam building, oil drilling, and logging. The shareholders believe that without a clear understanding of the key environmental and human rights issues raised by such projects, JPMorgan Chase will expose itself to negative financial consequences and endanger its reputation.
- Several of JPMorgan Chase's competitors face similar risks to their reputation and financial position and are seeking to manage them with existing environmental policies, staff expertise and training programs to effectively identify or evaluate social and environmental impacts. For example, a coalition of 20 leading financial institutions recently adopted the Equator Principles, a voluntary initiative by banks to help them assess and mitigate social and environmental issues relating to the financing of large development projects. The Principles are based on internationally-recognized guidelines and policies of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC), and will be applied globally to project financings in all industry sectors, including mining, oil and gas, and forestry.
- It is important for a leading financial institution like JPMorgan Chase to join its peers and competitors in establishing systems to identify, assess and manage social and environmental risks in its financing decisions. Shareholders believe that failure to create and implement guidelines and policies for managing environmental and social risk has the potential to expose JPMorgan Chase to severe criticism, impact the bottom-line and, ultimately, shareholder value.
The shareholders have stated that they look forward to seeing JPMorgan Chase develop rigorous social and environmental policies and procedures and publicly report on the implementation of these commitments in the years to come.
JPMorgan Chase met several times in the last year with the proponents and other interested shareholders and further meetings are planned. Following the meetings last year, the firm's Office of the Chairman approved a proposal to establish the Office of Environmental Affairs and to have environmental matters come under the oversight of the board of director's Public Policy Committee, which agreed to assume such oversight role.
JPMorgan Chase discussed its environmental activities and plans in its 2003 Community Partnership Report, a copy of which is available on JPMorgan Chase's website, www.jpmorganchase.com.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $801 billion and operations in more than 50 countries. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and businesses, financial transaction processing, investment management, private banking and private equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. is headquartered in New York and serves more than 30 million consumers nationwide, and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients. Information about JPMorgan Chase is on the Internet at www.jpmorganchase.com.