Climate-focused investor engagement initiative Climate Action 100+ highlighted several of its members’ key shareholder proposals heading into the 2022 proxy season, in a bid to help build support to vote for climate-related resolutions at the targeted companies. Among the flagged resolutions is a proposal filed at Berkshire Hathaway requesting the company provide disclosure on climate-related risk aligned with TCFD recommendations.
Climate Action 100+ is an initiative, with over 615 investors representing more than $65 trillion in assets, that targets the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to promote taking necessary action on climate change and align their business strategies with net zero in order to help limit average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Last year, the initiative released the Climate Action 100+ Net-Zero Company Benchmark, providing investors with detailed, comparative assessments of individual focus company performance against high-level commitment goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving Governance deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights., and strengthening climate-related financial disclosures.
The Berkshire Hathaway resolution, seeking TCFD-aligned reports on physical and transitional climate-related risks and opportunities, is being refiled from last year’s meeting, where it received support from a significant majority of non-insider, despite a strong company recommendation for shareholders to vote against it. The resolution was filed by Brunel Pension Partnership Limited represented by EOS at Federated Hermes, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and State of New Jersey Common Pension Fund.
According to the initiative, Berkshire Hathaway was the only North American company that did not achieve any of the Climate Action 100+ Net Zero Company Benchmark assessment criteria in 2021.
Other resolutions flagged by Climate Action 100+ included a proposal at Valero Energy calling on the company to adopt near- and long-term Paris Agreement-aligned emissions reduction targets, and to present a plan for achieving those goals, and a proposal at Imperial Oil calling on the company to cease capital expenditures in new oil & gas field exploration and production.
Overall, Climate Action 100+ said that its signatories have filed 39 proposals at focus companies so far this year, while 20 proposals have already been withdrawn after signatories reached agreements with the companies on new commitments.
Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and President and a member of the global steering committee for Climate Action 100+, said:
“Flagging shareholder resolutions as well as routine votes, including those on directors and audit committees, is an impactful and increasingly critical tool for investors aiming to accelerate action on the escalating risks of the climate crisis. The latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leaves no doubt that the climate crisis will bring even more devastation to our hardest hit communities and global economy. Accordingly, the proposals filed so far this year carry a clear message from investors: companies must act immediately and take ambitious, necessary climate action, and they must be transparent and accountable to their investors as they work toward our collective goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
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