Shareholders in the US are showing growing concern about their investments in companies exposed to climate change-related risks, according to new data released by Ceres, a US organisation that promotes more sustainable business practices.
The annual round of corporate shareholder meetings – referred to in the US as the proxy season – has recently ended. Ceres says that at those meetings a total of 110 shareholder climate change and environmental sustainability-related resolutions were filed with 94 US-based companies: issues covered by the resolutions included concerns about hydraulic fracturing, flaring and both the environmental and financial risks of further exploitation of fossil fuel reserves.
Some of the US’s largest public pension funds were among those filing resolutions, including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the New York State and New York City Comptrollers’ Offices. Ceres estimates that along with other large institutional investors these groups manage funds worth in excess of $500 bn in assets.
“The strength of this year’s proxy season shows unwavering investor concern about how companies, especially energy companies, are managing the profound climate-related risks of fossil fuel production, including traditional and unconventional oil and gas extraction,” says Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.