PNC stockholders reject paying for greenhouse gas report

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Stockholders of PNC Financial Services Group on Tuesday defeated a proposal by an activist shareholder asking for a report assessing the impact on climate change from greenhouse gas emissions produced by companies in PNC’s lending portfolio, according to preliminary results at the Pittsburgh bank’s annual meeting in Tampa, Fla.

The exact vote tally was not immediately available. A similar proposal was defeated at last year’s annual meeting, with 23 percent voting in favor of it. Boston Common Asset Management sponsored both proposals.

PNC’s board had recommended voting against the measure, saying it was “not an appropriate use of corporate assets” and could not be produced “at a reasonable cost.”

Three other matters on the agenda at the Intercontinental Tampa Hotel were approved, including the election of all 15 director nominees to one-year terms on the board and ratification of PricewaterhouseCoopers as independent accountant. Shareholders also gave the nod to the company’s executive compensation plan in a “say on pay” advisory vote.

Tuesday’s meeting, which for the first time was available via live audio-only webcast, also marked the first presided over by William Demchak, who succeeded James Rohr as CEO a year ago and took over the chairman’s role at this year’s event.

Mr. Demchak gave no formal presentation during the 15-minute meeting and fielded just one shareholder comment.

That was a dramatic contrast to last year’s meeting at the August Wilson Center in Downtown, where demonstrators repeatedly disrupted the event, shouting out of turn and demanding that PNC stop lending money to companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining.

Members of the environmental activist group Earth Quaker Action Team again demonstrated outside the annual meeting this year, calling on Pittsburgh's biggest bank to stop lending to companies that extract coal by shearing off the tops of mountains.

Patricia Sabatini:; 412-263-3066. First Published April 22, 2014 12:35 PM

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