Toyota Shareholders Vote Down Climate Resolution, Back Board

REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
Toyota Motor Corp. incoming President and Chief Executive Koji Sato attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan February 13, 2023.

TOYOTA CITY, Japan, June 14 (Reuters) – Shareholders of Toyota 7203.T voted down an unprecedented resolution on its automaker’s climate lobbying and backed its board at an annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, sending an endorsement of the Japanese automaker’s strategy.

The rejection by shareholders of the resolution calling for greater disclosure on climate lobbying was put forward by a trio of European asset managers and widely expected to be defeated, given the strength of management support among individual investors and the number of Toyota group companies and suppliers in the automaker’s shareholder base.

Shareholders also voted in favor of all 10 members of the board. That vote, and particularly support for Chairman Akio Toyoda, has been in focus after some major U.S. pension funds said they would not vote for Toyoda, citing concerns about board independence.

A breakdown of the voting was not yet released.

The shareholder meeting came a day after the world’s biggest automaker announced an ambitious roadmap for electric vehicles (EV) including details on solid-state batteries and sweeping changes to production, sending the strongest signal so far that Toyota wants to take a bigger share of the market for battery EVs and lifting its share price.

“Japanese people like Toyota and I think they support Akio,” said 61-year-old Tadashi Imai, an individual shareholder who said he has held stock in the company for around a decade.

“Toyota’s announcement yesterday about the solid-state batteries roll-out by 2027 sent the shares up 5%. That’s really impressive, 5%.”

The Japanese giant has become a target in recent years for activists and green investors who said it has been slow to roll out EVs. Toyota is taking a multi-pathway approach toward carbon neutrality that includes petrol-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells, along with EVs.

It has said its approach is more effective for reducing carbon emissions and more practical as customer needs, EV infrastructure and clean energy supplies differ by country.