The biggest corporate polluters of the world should support strategies that are aimed to reach net-zero emissions, demanded a group that represents investors that collectively manage more than $47tn in assets.
The group said that if the demand is not met, such companies will be held by it to public account.
In a letter sent to 161 fossil fuel, mining, transport and other big-emitting companies, the group which is known as Climate Action 100+ and which has the support of 518 institutional investor organisations across the globe, has demanded that companies should set 30 climate measures and targets which will be used to analyze their performance in a report that will be released early next year.
This is the latest step by climate-concerned shareholders to try and force business leaders to explain how their targets and strategies that will help in attaining the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.
About 80% of global industrial greenhouse gas emissionsare emittedby thetargeted companies. The list includes companies like the mining giant BHP which has very recently pledged to bring down emissions from its operations by at lets 30 per cent over the next decade as it pushes to achieve a net zero carbon emission target by 2050. This was an outcome of sustained pressure from activist shareholder groups.
Others in the list of targeted companies by the group include Exxon Mobil, PetroChina, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto, BlueScope Steel and major Australian energy companies AGL, Santos, Woodside and Origin.
“Indicators” on which the businesses will be measured were listed by the Climate Action steering committee in a statement on Monday. The list included assessing whether the companies have strategies to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner and policies to bring down the “scope 3” emissions released by the customers who use the products of the companies.
While stressing the need for stronger action t o reduce green house gas emissions in order to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the group also said that some companies have made significant progress in this regards. It said that their actions and sustained pressure to limit the global temperature will also help to prevent “the devastating impacts of otherwise avoidable climate crisis”.
While stressing on the urgent need for a step change, Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the UK-based Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, said that the analysis report will make it abundantly clear which companies were treating climate change as a “business-critical issue”.
“Investors will be paying particular attention to those shown to be falling short,” she said.
It is the expectation of investors that Australian companies will be “actively preparing” a roadmap to achieve net-zero emissions by setting clear targets, strategies and executive oversight, said Emma Herd, the head of Australia’s Investor Group on Climate Change.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)