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Sep 03, 2015

Investors managing $60 bn target BP and Total over climate change lobby

Investors ask nine major companies to withdraw support from BusinessEurope and FuelsEurope

A coalition of institutional investors with more than $60 bn in assets under management is calling on BP, Total, Procter & Gamble and six other companies to drop their support for lobby groups that campaign against action on climate change.

The coalition, which includes Boston Common Asset Management, AP4 (Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund), Walden Asset Management and others, has asked the companies to end their membership of lobby groups including BusinessEurope, the European Chemical Industry Council, FuelsEurope, Eurometaux and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers.

The investors say the lobby groups have ‘a track record of obstructive lobbying on climate change policy’, a position that conflicts with the stated climate change policies of the nine companies, which also include Rio Tinto, Statoil, BHP Billiton, EDF, Glencore and Johnson Matthey.

‘We believe it is important that investors put pressure on companies that are financing associations seeking to undermine climate legislation, and would encourage companies to withdraw from associations that have lobbied in ways that seem inconsistent with the companies’ own statements on climate action,’ says Arne Lööw, head of corporate governance at AP4, in a press release.

The move answers a call by ShareAction issued last month for investor pressure on companies that publicly state they favor action to mitigate climate change while paying membership fees to lobby groups that oppose the action.

BusinessEurope replied in a press release that it has been ‘named and shamed as an organization trying to undermine climate change policies’ but that it ‘is committed to and aware of the challenges that climate change presents as well as the impacts of human activities.’

‘Climate change is a global challenge that requires global action,’ says BusinessEurope president Emma Marcegaglia. ‘This is why we believe carbon pricing and the development of a global carbon market should play a stronger role in the future. Economic instruments can best help to stimulate investments in innovative technologies and products at locations where they deliver the greatest possible climate benefits at the lowest costs.’