By Simon Jessop
LONDON – Investors stepped up pressure on corporate climate lobbying on Monday, launching a new 14-point action plan for companies to stick to or risk having their actions put to a shareholder vote.
The Global Standard on Responsible Climate Lobbying urges companies to commit to responsible climate lobbying, disclose the support given to trade groups lobbying on their behalf and take action if it runs counter to the world’s climate goal.
That goal, to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms by mid-century, is moving increasingly out of reach, scientists say, with urgent action needed in the short-term to have any hope of reaching it.
Developed by Swedish pension scheme AP7, BNP Paribas Asset Management and the Church of England Pensions Board, the standard is backed by investor groups leading on climate talks with companies whose members manage a collective $130 trillion.
“Time must be called on negative climate lobbying. Investors will no longer tolerate a glaring gap between a company’s words and their actions on climate,” said AP7, Sustainability Strategist Charlotta Dawidowski Sydstrand.
“As active owners we are committed to engaging collectively and individually with companies globally to highlight and improve their climate lobbying accountability and performance and to escalate this stewardship where required.”
In a statement, the investors said that lobbying that sought to delay, dilute or block climate action by governments ran counter to their interests and could result in resolutions being filed at the shareholder meetings of firms that failed to act.
“Corporate lobbying can significantly influence public climate policy,” said Clare Richards, Senior Engagement Manager at the Church of England Pensions Board.
“We want the standard to set a high bar for companies, and to encourage a move away from ‘negative lobbying’ towards actively engaging in ‘responsible lobbying’ through supporting policies aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
(Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Kim Coghill)