Greenwire reports that activist investors will propose 142 shareholder resolutions asking corporations to strengthen their climate change commitments. This list of resolutions covers greenhouse gas reductions, energy efficiency, deforestation, and water use. The resolution campaign is led by 35 institutional investors, including public pension funds in New York, California, and Connecticut; labor groups like the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, and the International Labor Union of North America; investment firms like Amalgamated Bank LongView Funds, Walden Asset Management, and Calvert Asset Management Company; and religious groups like the Presbyterian Church (USA), Mercy Investment Services, and Unitarian Universalist Congregrations.
According to Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, “Investors are not standing still as the climate crisis worsens. These wide-ranging resolutions reflect a deepening concern that stronger actions from companies are needed.” Ceres reports that investor groups filed 23 resolutions this year asking companies to set greenhouse gas reduction targets and increase transparency on how they are managing climate risks. Climate change resolutions are targeted at oil and gas companies like Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips, electric utilities like Ameren and Dominion Resources, and retailers and manufaturers like Lowe’s, Advance Auto Parts, and Polaris Industries.
Petitioning shareholders argue that ignoring the risks of climate change now will place companies at risk of future operational and financial hardship. They also point to recent studies showing that many U.S. businesses have reported a higher rate of return on investments in carbon-reduction technologies than on overall corporate capital investments. For example, the World Wildlife Fund and the British nonprofit Carbon Disclosure Project found that companies that commit to cutting carbon emissions by 3% annually over the next six years could save as much as $190 billion through lower energy bills. More than 700 firms have signed onto Ceres’ Climate Declaration avowing that “tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century.” Some of the largest corporations are already planning for the U.S. government to put a price on carbon emissions.
UPDATE: Read this RTCC post on point concerning Shell’s annual report.