CA100+’s largest signatories are ‘undermining’ engagement efforts
This article was first published on Proxy Insight Online on February 3, 2022. For more information about the product, click here.
Climate Action 100+’s (CA100+) efforts to hold companies accountable for climate change are being “systematically undermined” by the voting behavior of the coalition’s largest investor signatories, according to Majority Action’s Wednesday analysis of investor voting.
The report, featuring Proxy Insight Online data, analyzed the voting behavior and reporting of the 75 largest investor signatories of the CA100+ coalition, in relation to proposals subject to a vote at the shareholder meetings of the 45 U.S.-based CA100+ focus companies in 2021.
Last year, 23 of the 45 U.S. companies highlighted by CA100+ as environmental laggards failed to achieve full compliance with any of the initiative’s nine Net-zero Company Benchmark indicators, the report revealed.
Despite this, a “majority” of large CA100+ investor signatories voted for every single director at over half of these 23 companies, including BlackRock, JP Morgan, Fidelity International, BNY Mellon, and Invesco.
Four CA100+ members’ shareholder resolutions that sought enhanced decarbonization reporting and failed to receive majority support would have won upwards of 50% support, but for votes against the resolutions from some of the initiative’s largest investors.
State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) and BlackRock voted against three and four of the shareholder proposals respectively that would have won majority support at Chevron, Dominion Energy, Caterpillar, and Duke Energy.
In addition, 21 of the 75 largest CA100+ investors failed to disclose their firm-level proxy voting performance “in a way that would allow their performance to be analyzed and evaluated,” Majority Action revealed.
To ensure CA100+ signatories appropriately engage with focus companies on the climate transition, the environmental advocacy organization urged investors to implement proxy voting policies that enable voting against directors at companies that fail to align their targets, capital expenditures, and policy influence to 1.5ºC pathways.
Investors should also announce their intention to vote in advance of annual meetings and disclose all votes at CA100+ companies within six months of the annual meeting date.
Majority Action also urged CA100+ as an initiative to flag key votes on directors at companies that “demonstrably fail” to achieve the CA100+ Net-zero Benchmark and ensure that all key climate resolutions at CA100+ focus companies are flagged for members.
The initiative should also establish proxy voting performance expectations for investor members and require “prompt and comprehensive public disclosure” of proxy voting from all CA100+ signatories.