Sunday, March 9, 2014

Shareholders seeking stronger responses from companies as climate change concerns deepen

A press release from Ceres: Motivated by mounting scientific evidence that human activity is a leading cause of climate change, major institutional investors are pushing for stronger actions from companies in climate-related shareholder resolutions in the 2014 proxy season.

Led by Walden Asset Management, the New York State Comptroller’s Office, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, Calvert Investments, the Connecticut Treasurer’s Office, Trillium Asset Management, Mercy Investments and Green Century Capital Management, 35 institutional investors have filed 142 resolutions in a coordinated effort to spur action by 118 companies – including Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Kinder Morgan, Lowes and several electric utilities – on a wide range of climate-related issues such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy efficiency and sustainable palm oil.

“The combined package of 2014 resolutions demonstrates a common urgency that investors and companies alike need to ‘raise the bar’ and expand our actions to address climate change,” said Timothy Smith, Senior Vice President and Director of Environmental Social and Governance Shareholder Engagement at Boston-based Walden Asset Management. “The range of resolutions shows how investors are broadening their outreach to more companies and deepening their message to other companies on difficult climate issues such as lobbying on climate by fossil fuel companies.”

This year’s record number of climate-related resolutions demonstrates that investors are paying more attention than ever to risks and opportunities that climate change and environmental issues pose to companies in their portfolios. The investors – many of which are members of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, coordinated by the sustainability advocacy group Ceres, and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) – request specific actions from companies such as adopting and achieving company-wide goals for reducing GHG emissions from operations...

A stock certificate photographed by SpreeTom, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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