Climate Action 100+: New investor initiative targets top 100 corporate emitters

More than 200 of the most influential investor institutions, with more than $26.3trn in assets under management, have today (12 December) launched a new global initiative to help the 100 largest corporate emitters reduce value chain carbon footprints.

The Climate Action 100+ initiative was launched at the One Planet Summit in France. Led by investors from Australian Super, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), HSBC Global Asset Management, Ircantec and Manulife Asset Management, a total of 225 investor institutions have pledged to help the world’s largest emitters identify and act on climate risks.

“Moving 100 of the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to align their business plans with the goals of the Paris Agreement will have considerable ripple effects,” CalPERS investment director of sustainability Anne Simpson said.

“Our collaborative engagements with the largest emitters will spur actions across all sectors as companies work to avoid being vulnerable to climate risk and left behind.”

Launched on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Climate Action 100+ sees investors call on the largest 100 emitters to implement strong governance frameworks that outline cases of climate risk, take action to reduce emissions across the value chain in line with the well-below 2C target, and provide enhanced disclosure by implementing the final recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

The initial list of companies that investors will target includes, but is not limited to, oil and gas majors and companies operating in the electric power and transportation sector. A Steering Committee utilised data from CDP to draw up the list, but the Climate Action 100+ does acknowledge that some on the list have already adopted science-based targets and committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy.

Climate Action 100+ will produce annual reports that assess how companies have responded to a “collaborative engagement” with the investor community. Companies can be removed from the list if they have made significant improvements. An additional list of companies, considered by investors to be potentially exposed to climate-related financial risks, could be added next year.

HSBC Global Asset Management’s director of responsible investment Stephanie Maier said: “Climate change is a material and systemic risk no long-term investor can afford to ignore. To support the full implementation of the Paris Agreement it is also vital that investors and universal owners across the mainstream investment community do more to ensure major corporate emitters move swiftly to address the risks and pursue the opportunities presented by climate change, providing greater disclosure on how they are aligning with the 2-degrees transition.”

One Planet, lots of voices

So far, the One Planet summit has seen the private sector send out numerous collective calls for climate action. More than 50 global companies including Unilever, M&S and Adidas signed a statement calling on delegates at the summit, specifically G20 representatives, to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and push for the well-below 2C target of the Paris Agreement.

The chief financial officers from organisations representing more than $1.5trn in combined total assets, including Unilever, Tata Steel and Tesco, also made their voices heard ahead of the summit.

Alongside 13 chief executives of accounting bodies and 17 chairs of pension funds, 37 chief financial officers signed a “statement of support” for the TCFD recommendations, through The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S).

Matt Mace

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