Shareholder Voting on Climate Transition Action Plans
To manage the transition to net zero, companies need:
1. Annual disclosure of emissions
2. A plan to manage those emissions 3. An approval or disapproval vote where shareholders deem it appropriate
Make a Public Statement of Support
“Write to all your asset managers stating that you support the ‘Say on Climate’ and that you would like to work with them in supporting your climate change engagement objectives.”
“We [Asset Manager] encourage all listed companies to disclose a Climate Transition Action Plan and annual performance versus plan. Where companies won’t do so voluntarily we will vote for and file AGM resolutions (whenever we have sufficient votes) requiring such disclosure.” .
“We [Company] commit to submit a Climate Transition Action Plan at our AGM with an annual vote where shareholders deem it appropriate. We welcome the accountability this brings and encourage other companies and investors to adopt this practice.”
“We [Proxy Adviser] believe resolutions calling for disclosure of companies’ Climate Transition Action Plan are reasonable and in the interest of shareholders, with an AGM vote where shareholders deem it appropriate. We will generally recommend support for such proposals.” .
Please state on your website “We support the Say On Climate initiative” and provide a link to www.sayonclimate.org
U.N. climate envoy Carney backs annual investor votes on company climate plans
LONDON/BOSTON (Reuters) 9 November 2020 – U.N. climate envoy Mark Carney on Monday backed a push by investors to force companies to submit their climate change strategies to annual shareholder votes, saying such a mechanism could improve oversight of pledges to slash greenhouse gas emissions.
Carney, who took a U.N. climate finance role after stepping down as Bank of England governor in March, said investors could have an automatic advisory vote on a company’s climate plans, in the same way they are involved in pay discussions.
“Rather than have authorities be overly prescriptive on plans, it may be desirable to have investors have a say on transition”
“This would establish a critical link between responsibility, accountability and sustainability” .
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has made climate change a signature issue of his tenure, also urged investors to push companies harder by “systematically supporting climate resolutions”.
Companies And Investors Are Failing to Address Climate Change
1 Growing recognition of the need for every company to publish a climate transition action plan:
G30 report co-chaired by Mark Carney and Janet Yellen says: “At a minimum, companies will have to set out targets for their Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and set credible milestones.”
Companies must publish climate transition action plans and be accountable to shareholders on an annual basis
Companies must have a clear action plan, because greenhouse gas emissions will:
Be taxed and regulated by governments in the future
Increase their cost of capital
Damage their competitive position
Harm customer relationships
Undermine employee moral and recruitment
A shareholder vote on climate transition plans can help ensure good plans are produced and delivered on.
Aena was the first company to put its climate transition action plan to a shareholder vote. They have been joined by a growing number of other major companies inlcuding Unilever, Glencore and Moody’s (see the latest list here). This sets a precedent for other companies.