Investors Push for Climate-Change Action
Investors are increasingly requesting private companies to pay closer attention to climate-change impacts, risks, and opportunities in their operations. The Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) recently reported that investors filed an unprecedented number—101—of shareholder resolutions in 2010 regarding climate and energy issues. The resolutions were filed with 88 U.S. and Canadian companies. They call for actions such as reporting on impacts of operations on rainforest sustainability (International Paper), adopting a sustainable palm oil sourcing policy (Sara Lee Corp.), reporting on greenhouse-gas reduction strategies (COSTCO and many others), reporting on the financial risks from climate change and adopting climate-change principles (ExxonMobil and many others).
The resolutions were filed by state and city pension funds, foundations, and religious, labor, and other institutional shareholders. According to the news release, a record 51 resolutions were withdrawn, an action that generally means the company committed to the resolution. Also noteworthy was the number of shareholders voting in favor of the resolutions: of 42 resolutions that went to shareholder vote, 16 achieved 30 percent or greater support. This is nearly three times the number that achieved that level of support in 2009.