Climate Series: Oil and gas preparing for a carbon-constrained world – leaders and laggards

The investor pressure on oil and gas companies to address climate change as seen in the latest proxy voting season has mounted like never before. In May, BP shareholders, representing over 99% of the votes, passed a resolution asking the company to align its business strategy and investments with the Paris Agreement. When a similar resolution was blocked by Exxon, who had asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to reject it, investors urged a vote to split the chief executive officer and board chairman roles as protest.

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Climate Series: Decarbonisation of Cement and Steel Sectors

With their widespread use across multiple sectors, from construction and infrastructure to energy and transportation, cement and steel are central to modern economy. They are also inherently energy and carbon-intensive. Taken together, those two sectors account for up to 15% of global CO2 emissions, and as the world’s population grows, emissions are only projected to increase.

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Climate Series: Engaging with the Top 100 Climate Change Contributors

On behalf of institutional investor clients, Engagement International has evaluated and engaged with the 100 listed companies that contribute the most to climate change since the Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015. Through in-person meetings and conference calls every six months over the past three years, we seek to encourage the companies to align their business with the well-below two-degree goal. This blog is the first of a climate series, in which we will discuss the premise and results of the engagement project “Top 100 Climate Change Contributors” (Top100CCC).

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Is sustainable corporate governance going to dominate the investor engagement landscape?

Last week the EU conference gathered together experts representing various fields, including policy-makers, investors, academia, trade unions and environmentalists, with the aim to reflect on how to foster more sustainable governance in line with the Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth. The key message emerging from the event points out that if we want sustainable finance, we need sustainable corporate governance.

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Strengthening of investor’s fiduciary duty by the new EU Action Plan at the forefront of sustainable finance

European institutional investors can expect a stronger focus on fulfilling their fiduciary duties and there will be more demand of transparency in relation to exercising these duties as part of investment decisions. This direction is now clear from the EU Action Plan and the last week’s high-profile conference on how to move the strategy on sustainable finance going forward. While some of the key outcomes will be already seen in about a year.

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New Danish guideline on Responsible Investments

Early March, the governmental entity Danish Business Authority, launched its long-awaited publication Recommendations on Responsible Investments. It closely refers to the OECD’s Responsible Business Conduct for Institutional Investors which is an integrated part of the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. The Danish guidelines also refer to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP), the Paris Accord on Climate Change and UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Climate Engagement leads to better Management

During the last months of 2016, Engagement International engaged on behalf of institutional investors with 28 of the 100 listed global companies that are contributing the most to climate change – now or potentially later, due to their fossil fuel reserves. About 40% of the companies have a clear commitment to the Paris Agreement and are explicit about their own responsibility to contribute to the two-degree-goal. However, in general, the highly exposed energy-, mining-, steel- and cement companies need to do much more. Two thirds have shown an increasing carbon emission intensity over the last five years. And a new set of very ambitious financial disclosure recommendations from the Financial Stability Board (FSB) will push not only these highly climate change exposed companies, but organisations in all industries to adopt a better management of their climate risks and opportunities.

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