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Investors File Record Number of Climate Change Resolutions
By Christie Renner

One powerful way for shareholders to influence companies to act on climate change is through shareholder advocacy. Increasing numbers of investors are successfully engaging in dialogue with companies on the risks of climate change, and when negotiations prove unsuccessful, some investors are filing shareholder proposals to be voted on at company annual meetings.

Most investors do not attend the annual stockholder meetings of the companies in which they hold shares, but rather vote by proxy ballot, delegate such voting to their investment managers, or do not vote at all. Shareholders that meet certain requirements can place shareholder resolutions on these proxy ballots to raise awareness about a particular issue among a wider base of the company’s shareholders.

This year’s proxy season has seen a record 95 climate-related shareholder proposals filed by investors at 82 U.S. and Canadian companies. According to the Investor Network on Climate Risk, this represents a 40% increase over the number of climate-related resolutions filed last year and demonstrates the increasing concern investors have about climate related risks to their investments. To see the complete list of resolutions, visit www.incr.com/resolutions.

First Affirmative co-filed five of the resolutions on the INCR list, including a resolution encouraging RR Donnelley to adopt a sustainable paper purchasing policy, a resolution requesting Aqua America produce a sustainability report, a resolution requesting Kroger assess and manage climate risks to its supply chain, and a resolution requesting JPMorgan Chase review its implementation of the Carbon Principles. First Affirmative also co-filed a resolution filed by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) at ConocoPhillips requesting a report on the environmental damage that would result from expanding oil sands operations in Alberta, Canada’s boreal forest.

In January of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued interpretive guidance regarding disclosure related to climate change on what companies should publically report. This was good news for green investors, as greater disclosure and transparency helps investors make informed decisions.

Last week, 56 treasurers, comptrollers, controllers, institutional investors, and asset managers representing $21 trillion in assets, sent a letter to the SEC showing their strong support of the Commission’s new guidance. Read more about the SEC guidance on our blog here, or read the official document here.

Note: Mention of specific companies or securities in this blog should not be considered a recommendation to either buy or sell that security. For information regarding the suitability of any security for your investment portfolio please contact your financial advisor.

Christie Renner
Executive Assistant to the CEO

Posted: March 9, 2010