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Mar 09, 2014

Investor coalition files 142 shareholder resolutions on climate change

Resolutions prompt action by Kellogg’s, Cabot and others, Ceres says

A coalition of 35 institutional investors is undertaking a co-ordinated plan through shareholder resolutions to persuade 118 companies to lower greenhouse gas emissions, boost energy efficiency and carry out other changes to help fight climate change, according to advocacy group Ceres.

Investors including CalSTRS, Calvert Investments, the State of Connecticut Treasurer’s Office, Trillium Asset Management and others have filed 142 resolutions targeting 118 companies so far this proxy season to address climate-change concerns, Ceres says.

Resolutions range from demands for supply chain reviews to limit deforestation and requests to reduce emissions to calls for greater disclosure on corporate measures to mitigate climate risks. Companies targeted include ExxonMobil, Kraft Foods, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Kinder Morgan, Lowe’s and others.

‘The combined package of 2014 resolutions demonstrates a common urgency that investors and companies alike need to raise the bar and expand our actions to address climate change,’ says Timothy Smith, senior vice president of coalition member Walden Asset Management ‒ which is also part of the group ‒ in a media release.

‘The range of resolutions shows how investors are broadening their outreach to more companies and deepening their message to other companies on difficult climate issues such as lobbying fossil fuel companies on climate.’

At least partly in response to the resolutions, Kellogg’s has announced it will buy only deforestation-free palm oil, Church & Dwight has agreed to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, and Advance Auto Parts, Denbury Resources, Cabot Oil & Gas and Lincoln Electric Holdings have all agreed to increase disclosure of climate risk management, Ceres says.

The resolutions also focus on methane emissions, plans to increase renewable energy use, carbon asset risks, adding board members with environmental experience, political lobbying related to climate change, sustainable agriculture, sustainability reporting, and more.