Shareholders file record number climate resolutions
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. investors have filed a record 54 shareholder resolutions, asking companies act to reduce risks of climate change on the bottom line.
Many companies in the oil, electric power, airline and homebuilding industries were not adequately addressing potential business impacts from emerging climate regulations, or potential physical damage to their operations from climate change, according to Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of investors and environmentalists.
"Scientific consensus of the potentially destructive impacts of climate change on the global economy is clearer than ever," Jack Ehnes, chief executive officer at the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), the nation's second largest pubic pension fund, said in a release.
"Companies in every industry, especially energy sectors, should be acting now to assess and mitigate climate change risks," he said. CalSTRS filed climate-related resolutions for the first time this year.
Ceres said the number of resolutions was nearly double the amount filed in 2006.
Shareholder resolutions on climate are most often voted down, but raise awareness on potential business impacts of emissions of gases scientists blame for warming the planet.
Fourteen of the 54 resolutions were withdrawn by investors after the companies agreed to disclose potential impacts from emerging climate regulations and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Investors filed three resolutions with Exxon Mobil requesting including ones that ask its board to develop comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction targets and adopt a policy for renewable energy research and development.
Exxon has said it takes climate change seriously and has reduced emissions of heat-trapping gases at its operations.
Resolutions were also filed with oil company ConocoPhillips and coal producer Massey Energy and other companies.
Four of the withdrawals involved electric power companies - Allegheny Energy, Alliant Energy , Dominion Resources and Southern, who were all asked to report on their strategies to significantly boost energy efficiency as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner, editing by John Picinich)