At the US Annual General Meetings (AGMs) in 2016, approximately 40% of investors voted in favour of resolutions asking for better disclosure of climate risk. In contrast, more than 96% of investors voted for similar resolutions at European and Canadian companies in 2015 and 2016.
As articulated in a recent Huffington Post article by our advisers, Preventable Surprises believes this to be a teachable moment for institutional investors, and in particular the asset owners and investment consultants who do so much – whether they realise it or not – to shape, collectively, how fund managers vote.
The bottom line is clear – the Missing 60% should be helped and challenged to do better in 2017!
The individuals who are listed below have indicated broad support for the following principles:
- Asset owners and investment managers’ fiduciary duties of care and loyalty require that they must think, act, and vote independently of management recommendations. Inconsistency of voting on fundamentally similar 2C stress test / transition plan resolutions needs explanation. Failure to do so will raise legitimate questions about how well these investors are exercising their fiduciary duty.
- Investors should require the leadership of companies to recognise and embrace the challenges and opportunities of an energy transition to achieve a low carbon economy, “[i]nstead of railing against climate policies, or paying them lip-service while quietly defying them with investment decisions” – as the Financial Times so eloquently stated.
- Investors should require that companies in their investment portfolios provide a clear explanation of their transition plans and business models that will result in emissions reductions consistent with achieving <2C planetary warming – this is simply prudent risk management.
Here is a partial list of some the individuals who support the initiative. Individuals have signed in their personal capacity: organisational affiliations are shown for identification purposes only.
- Australia: Ian DUNLOP, Fmr Chair, Australian Coal Association
- Canada: Dr Janis SARRA, Univ of British Columbia
- France: Jean-Pierre HELLEBUYCK, Association Française de la Gestion Financière
- Switzerland: Prof Philippe THALMANN, Member of the Board, Publica
- United Kingdon: James BEVAN, CCLA; Tom BURKE, Chairman, E3G; Paul DICKINSON, Executive Chair, CDP; Prof Simon DIETZ, Grantham Research Institute; Catherine HOWARTH, CEO, ShareAction (UK); Tessa TENNANT, Green finance pioneer
- United States of America: Sister Patricia DALY, Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investing; Prof Bob ECCLES, Harvard Business School; Jon LUKOMNIK, IRRC Institute; Sonia KOWAL, Zevin Asset Management; Naomi ORESKES, Harvard University; Dr Ben SANTER, Atmospheric Scientist; Andrew WINSTON, Author, The Big Pivot; Michele WUCKER, Author, The Grey Rhino; David ZELLNER, Wespath IM
For the full list of signatories, see here.
If you would like to join this group and thus signal to global fund managers that they should do better on this very basic indicator of good stewardship, then please send your name and title to [email protected]