The investors have written to energy companies BP, EDF, Statoil and Total, mining businesses Glencore, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton and chemicals firms Johnson Matthey and Proctor and Gamble.

The letter expressed concern that the companies’ declared climate policies are undermined by membership of lobby groups with a track record of obstructive lobbying on climate change policy.

For example, the letters highlight the obstructive lobbying undertaken on behalf of the companies by EU trade associations including Cefic, BusinessEurope and FuelsEurope.

The letters are part of an awareness campaign by responsible investment association ShareAction.

The group’s chief executive Catherine Howarth explained: “These international investors are united in the need to challenge companies who belong to trade associations that lobby obstructively behind closed doors to weaken climate policy in the EU.

“Tackling the problem of climate change should be high on the agenda of responsible investors worldwide. Our pension funds in particular have an important role to play in ensuring their portfolios are protected over the long term from the economic damage of climate change.”

Pressure mounting

Corporates have come under increasing pressure to withdraw from regressive lobbying groups in recent months, with Unilever leaving Business Europe, and BP and Shell exiting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) following differences over climate policy.

However, BP for example, is still associated with the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) which has contributed to obstructive lobbying on two important pieces of EU legislation: the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies, and consultations on the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Arne Lööw, the head of corporate governance at Swedish pension fund AP4, which signed the letter, added: “We believe it is important that investors put pressure on companies who are financing associations seeking to undermine climate legislation, and would encourage companies to withdraw from associations who have lobbied in ways which seem inconsistent with the companies´ own statements on climate action.”

The letter sent to BP

Brad Allen

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