Climate Change

Climate Change

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The Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment has engaged in shareholder advocacy on climate change since the early -1990s, raising a prophetic voice about this emerging risk. Since that time, the science has only become clearer: Climate Change is a fundamental challenge to society, presenting enormous financial risks and a compelling moral imperative to mitigate its negative impacts, especially on the poorest and most vulnerable.

Even as the effects of climate change, like extreme weather and sea level rise, have become increasingly dire, improving economic and technological trends in clean energy and a growing political will to address the issue have yielded major breakthroughs. Most importantly, at the end of 2015, the nations of the world agreed to the Paris Climate Accord, which for the first time establishes emissions reductions for both developed and developing countries and recognizes the imperative of limiting warming to under 2 degrees Celsius. At the same time, faith leaders have highlighted the moral dimensions of climate change, most prominently with Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. As the Pope wrote, “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.”  This concern for the common good, and especially for those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, is the basis of our work and informs our approach in our corporate engagements. 

Despite progress, much work remains. We focus our attentions on corporations in those sectors most directly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions: oil and gas; electric power and automotive. Through dialogue and shareholder resolutions, our members press companies to measure, monitor and reduce their total greenhouse gas emissions, develop and market energy-efficient product lines, such as electric vehicles, and to position themselves strategically to profit from opportunities under new regulatory programs. Corporate progress on climate change is patchy; while some companies have now set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy goals, others still do not disclose greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, we continue to press companies for science-based greenhouse gas reduction goals, constructive engagement on climate policy, scenario planning which includes low-carbon scenarios, and investment in clean energy research, development and deployment.

In our 2016 engagements, we underlined the importance of increasing access to sustainable energy sources to address energy poverty – the reality for 1.1 billion people throughout the world living without access to energy.  We must take efforts to meet our climate goals while responding to the urgent need to address sustainable energy access, as embodied in Sustainable Development Goal 7. This took the form of a resolution with ExxonMobil on the moral imperative to limit warming to 2 degrees, which received support from 18.5% of the company’s shareholders, and addressing energy poverty remains a theme in our corporate dialogues.

We have taken a leadership role in shareholder advocacy with ExxonMobil, Ford Motor Company, Chevron, General Motors, and The Southern Company, and raise our concerns about Global Climate Change in many of our other engagements.

Resources:

Climate Justice Video
Invested in Change: Faith-Consistent Investing in a Climate Challenged World
The Evolution of ICCR Shareholder Proposals on Climate Change
Policy Engagement Toolkit
Power Forward 2.0: How American Companies are Setting Clean Energy Targets and Capturing Greater Business Value (Ceres)
Sectoral Decarbonization Approach: A Method for Setting Corporate Emission Reduction Targets in Line with Climate Science
Implications of COP21- How Do Corporate Carbon Reduction Targets Stack Up (MSCI)
ICCR Statement on COP21
Carbon Asset Risk: A Review of Progress and Opportunity (Ceres)
Laudato Si’ and Corporations (Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns)