WEDNESDAY 12 DEC 2018 1:01 PM

INFLUENTIAL INVESTORS CALL COMPANIES TO ACTION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), the earth is expected to be warmer by three degrees Celsius by the end of the century, almost two times more than it should in order for the lethal effects of global warming to be avoided. Therefore, ignoring climate change, or denying its existence altogether, is something companies can no longer afford.

The issue of climate change is of such great importance, that even investors, who are traditionally rarely preoccupied with environmental causes, have decided to take action, challenging some of the biggest brands of the world to change their ways.

The group of investors, which includes the Church of England Pensions Board, has approached 55 companies, writing letters and asking them to ‘review the lobbying positions being adopted by the organisations of which you are a member.’

Adam Matthews, of the Church of England Pensions Board, says, “Misleading and misaligned corporate lobbying practices undermine the ability of governments to act on climate change and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The influence of trade associations is often exerted behind closed doors and can be deeply insidious to public policymaking on climate change.”

Among the companies that have been targeted by the investors, BP, Rio Tinto and Volkswagen are facing calls to reconsider their ties to lobbying organisations whose climate change policies do not match up to the Paris Agreement targets. Unilever, Nestle and Rolls-Royce were also approached.

The firms investors came in contact with, were chosen based on their high greenhouse gas emissions and important role in sectors that make heavy use of energy. The inspiration for the investor’s initiative came following a warning by the IPCC stating that in order to avoid a global environmental disaster, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut almost in half by 2030.

Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, says, “Long-term investors have a clear interest in the Paris Agreement being implemented to support the necessary transition to a low-carbon global economy. Shareholders should rightly expect companies in which they invest to advocate for the climate policy required for this to happen. This includes ensuring the trade bodies of which they are members are working to the same end.”

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