Chief executives at some of the world’s largest companies are receiving letters from investors calling for improved environmental performance.
Coordinated by the campaign group ShareAction, investors with up to $1trn under management have written letters to 15 companies, including brands such as Netflix and Walt Disney telling them that asset managers want to “invest in environment friendly and financially sustainable companies that are prepared for and contributing to the low-carbon economy.”
Sophia McNab, project manager at ShareAction, said: “I still hear from some companies that they’ve received no questions from investors on environmental issues.
“We welcome the leadership of investors in our networks but there is more work to be done by institutional investors. On a personal note, I’d like to see my own pension fund—NEST—championing these issues.”
The letters were sent by asset managers such as Candriam Investors Group, Ethos Foundation and Aegon Asset Management.
Science-based target setting
Emanuele Fanelli, responsible investment manager at Aegon, said: “‘We welcome the momentum behind science-based target setting and are pleased to see that now 100 companies, from utilities to real estate companies across different geographies, currently have approved science-based targets.
“This encouraging shift from disclosure to action is in the best interests of the environment, society at large, and company long-term investors.”
He continued: “In general, there is still a gap between the way companies identify climate-related risks and how they are preparing to tackle them. We hope this approach to target setting becomes the new norm and it will advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”
The roll-call of companies that received letters this week include: Analog Devices, Inc., Canadian National Railway Company, CEMEX SAB de CV, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Deutsche Telekom AG, Fortum Oyj, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., Netflix Inc., Skanska AB, STMicroelectronics NV, The Walt Disney Company, TransAlta Corporation, Whirlpool Corporation, WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc and Xcel Energy Inc.
A previous letter-writing campaign targeted companies such as Amazon and Dr Pepper Snapple, Royal Mail Group and J Sainsbury.