Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Proxy Season 2023: Institutional Investors Push for Stronger Climate Action and Disclosure


Proxy Season 2023: Institutional Investors Push for Stronger Climate Action and Disclosure
Attention all investors! It's time to take action for a more sustainable future. Institutional investors are making their voices heard during this proxy season by flagging key votes at Climate Action 100+ focus companies. This is an opportunity to encourage more robust climate action and to improve corporate governance on climate issues to mitigate exposure to climate risk.
Climate Action 100+, a renowned network of investors, including Ceres, is dedicated to helping investors make informed decisions by flagging crucial shareholder proposals and votes. This season, the initiative has flagged 17 shareholder proposals and signatory-declared votes on management proposals at six companies. These proposals relate to company progress against the expectations of Climate Action 100+.
Investors are not just asking for robust corporate governance on climate but also demanding disclosure on key issues such as greenhouse gas emissions targets, transition plans, policies to ensure a just transition for workers and communities, and reporting on methane measurements. With five years of investor engagement supported by Climate Action 100+ and high shareholder votes in recent years, we can drive positive change towards a sustainable future.
Investors, it's time to make your voices heard! Mercy Investment Services is urging shareholders to take action by voting against the reelection of three directors at Valero. The reason? They have failed to adequately manage the risks that climate change and the energy transition pose to the company's core business of refining and selling fossil fuels. Despite nearly a decade of dialogue and more than four years of engagement with Valero's senior management, there has been limited progress on aligning with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
But that's not all, folks. The International Energy Agency forecasts that global demand for petroleum liquids, including refined products like Valero's core transportation fuels, is expected to shrink in the coming decades. Unfortunately, Valero lags behind its peers in setting out a transition plan that includes lower carbon energy sources. With Valero's annual general meeting coming up on May 9, it's time to take a stand and demand action towards a more sustainable future.
Meanwhile, at Chevron, Wespath Benefits and Investments is urging shareholders to vote against the election of two directors. This is due to the company's failure to provide a meaningful response to a shareholder resolution approved by a majority of the company's shareholders concerning climate-related lobbying. Additionally, Chevron has failed to establish sufficient governance to address risks from misalignment between the company's lobbying practices and its stated support of the Paris Agreement.
Chevron's annual general meeting is on May 31, so mark your calendars and make your voice heard. Together, we can drive positive change towards a more sustainable future for all.
“One of the main roles of corporate boards is to ensure that companies take the long view on matters of strategy. For oil and gas companies, while current product demand may be robust, the long-term holds significant risks to that demand as the world decarbonizes,” said Andrew Logan, senior director of oil and gas at Ceres.
“Boards that do not take these risks into account are simply not doing their jobs. Boards that ignore significant shareholder votes on climate issues or refuse to engage seriously with the investors who filed them, are placing investors and their own companies at real financial risk.” 
Investors, listen up! The Church of England Pensions Board is taking a stand and calling for votes against the reelection of members of the supervisory board at Volkswagen AG. Why, you ask? Simply put, the company has failed to produce requested disclosure on lobbying as well as an update to their targets during fiscal year 2022.
For over four years, the Church of England Pensions Board has been engaging with Volkswagen AG (VW) on its approach to climate change, urging the company to set stronger emissions reduction targets and to provide public disclosure on its lobbying activities regarding climate change policy. Unfortunately, VW's GHG targets and transparency regarding climate lobbying lags behind its German peers. Both Mercedes Benz and BMW have produced lobbying disclosures and have been independently assessed as having stronger short- and medium-term emissions reduction targets by the Transition Pathway Initiative.
It's time to take action towards a more sustainable future. Volkswagen's annual general meeting is on May 10, so mark your calendars and make your voice heard. Together, we can drive positive change and demand greater transparency and accountability from corporations towards a more sustainable future for all.
A recent study by BlackRock revealed that 75% of proposals receiving at least 30% of votes resulted in companies taking action. Proxy advisor Glass Lewis also recommends that any resolution winning 20% or more of votes should lead to engagement between investors and company boards. Here are some notable examples of shareholder proposals that received significant support:
At Engie, 24% of investors voted for a resolution on the modification of the articles of association related to the company’s climate strategy. This reflects a growing demand for comprehensive climate strategies presented as climate transition plans.

At Lockheed Martin Corporation, 35% of shareholders supported a resolution filed by As You Sow for the company to set net zero targets and implement climate transition planning, which is particularly important as proposed legislation will soon require federal contractors to set science-based targets.

At Marathon Petroleum, 16% of shareholders supported a resolution filed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for a report on a climate-related just transition plan, reflecting investor expectations for a just transition as a key measure of corporate progress towards net zero.

Also at Marathon Petroleum, 22% of shareholders supported a resolution filed by the New Jersey Division of Investment Fund for a report on asset retirement obligations, an emerging area of concern for investors regarding stranded asset risk.

At PACCAR Inc., 46% of shareholders voted for a resolution filed by Calvert Research & Management asking for the company’s climate lobbying practices to align with the Paris Agreement, indicating growing investor support for climate lobbying disclosure.