IR30: A look back at May 2014 – Investors turn up heat on climate change

Jul 05, 2018
New Throwback Thursday series kicks off with May 2014 and how investor focus on climate change and wider ESG issues has evolved in just four years

 Investors turn up the heat over climate change

   IR Magazine May 2014: Investors turn
   up the heat over climate change

‘Companies are facing a record number of climate-related resolutions, growing divestment campaigns and questions over carbon risk that go to the heart of their strategies,’ wrote Tim Human in the May 2014 IR Magazine cover story Investors turn up the heat over climate change

As IR Magazine went to press on that issue, Human revealed that institutions had filed 142 resolutions calling for action at 118 companies, according to sustainability lobby group Ceres.

Since then investors have expanded their ESG focus to put a far greater emphasis on gender equality and governance, and more recently have turned their heads toward the S in ESG – with a growing interest in human capital.

Back in 2014, Tim Smith, director of ESG shareholder engagement at Walden Asset Management, urged investors to move faster on climate issues. ‘The problem, of course, on the climate issue is that the clock is ticking, and it’s ticking rather dramatically – and therefore we need to move much further, much faster,’ he concluded. 

And it seems investors were listening. ‘In 2017, investors filed 175 climate-related shareholder resolutions, reaching an astounding 62 percent majority vote on a climate risk disclosure vote at ExxonMobil, as well as achieving majority votes at Occidental Petroleum and PPL,’ wrote Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and president at the start of this year. ‘With investors like BlackRock, Fidelity, State Street and Vanguard voting in support of climate risk disclosure, it’s clear the concept has gone mainstream.’ 

As IR Magazine builds up to its 30th anniversary issue – the upcoming winter 2018 issue, which will be the 279th edition of the industry’s flagship magazine – we’ll be posting throwbacks to old covers, revisiting some of the hot topics from the past 30 years of investor relations and hearing from some of the industry titans. 

You can look back over old covers and keep track of all things 30th anniversary at our dedicated hub.

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