Abrahams v. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (2021)
Jurisdiction: Federal Court of Australia
Side A: Guy and Kim Abrahams (Individual corporation)
Side B: Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Corporation)
Access to a bank’s investment documents to assess its compliance with the Paris Agreement
On August 26, 2021, Guy and Kim Abrahams as trustees for the Abrahams Family Trust, shareholders in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), filed an application in the Federal Court of Australia, seeking access to internal documents under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The documents relate to the bank’s reported involvement with several projects including a gas pipeline in the US, a gas project in Queensland, a gas field and an oil field, among other projects that potentially infringe the bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (E&S Framework) and Environmental and Social Policy (E&S Policy). In particular, the E&S Framework and the E&S Policy require that the bank carries out an assessment of the environmental, social and economic impacts of the projects and whether the projects are in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.