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Tackling Climate Change
In 2010, ShareAction is campaigning on tar sands. We persuaded a group of investors to come out and say publicly that they will be pressing BP and Shell for a much greater level of transparency - in turn, we will be scrutinising them to make sure that happens.
Background to the Climate Change Campaign
Following the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2009 in Copenhagen, now is a crucial time for action on climate change, and investors have an important role to play. Our Climate Change campaign seeks to use investor power to produce urgently needed cuts in corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Corporations are major contributors to man-made global warming, and urgent action on their part is required if the UK is to meet its emissions reductions target of 80% by 2050 (based on a 1990 baseline). ShareAction's new campaign will focus on leveraging the power of pension funds and their fund managers to press for committed and urgent action by companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
As well as being a positive action to help prevent further global climate change in the future, changes in investment behaviour are also in the long-term interests of companies and investors, as companies from all sectors are increasingly being forced to adapt to the alterations brought about by a growing low carbon economy. As investors with longer-term investment horizons, pension funds have a huge financial stake in ensuring that companies take action to protect themselves against the physical, regulatory and economic impacts of climate change.
ShareAction's campaign message is simple: if pension funds don't recognise, and take account of climate change as "the biggest environmental risk management challenge facing many of the corporations in which we invest" (IIGCC), they themselves will suffer financial repercussions in the future.
ShareAction's Climate Change Campaign has two important stages.
Stage One: Persuasion
Arguments can change attitudes...
ShareAction has carried out extensive research on the attitudes and actions of UK-based fund managers with regard to managing climate change risks and opportunities, the results of which are published in our new report, 'Preparing for the Storm? UK fund managers and the risks & opportunities of climate change'.
The report provides recommendations and guidance for pension funds and fund managers, to support their future best practice. ShareAction will use the report as a tool to faciliate engagement with pension funds and fund managers on climate change.
In addition, we will continue to lobby regulators, policy makers and industry groups on climate change. We will also shortly be launching a Climate Change Toolkit, a guide for pension funds on best practice.
Stage Two: Pressure
Transforming changed attitudes into changed behaviour...
ShareAction is putting pressure on pension funds to adopt specific policies on climate risk management. We are also pushing for commitment and assurance from all fund managers that action is taken to secure a reduction in the emissions of the companies they invest in.
A key part of this stage of the campaign is reaching out to individual members of pension funds to encourage them to communicate directly with their own pension providers to discuss adopting clear and progressive climate change policies.
Across the world, a growing number of activist investors use their shareholder influence to secure significant changes in company policy. In 2008, for example, Ford became the first U.S. auto company to publish a detailed plan of how it will reduce by at least 30% the GHG emissions from its new vehicle fleet by 2020.