Investors filing climate-related resolutions are piling up in US annual general meetings. Shareholders – like state and city pension fund, labour, foundations, religious and other institutional investors – are rigorously demanding disclosures on the risks of environmental impact on business activities of firms.
CERES, a top coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organisations, revealed that there are 47 resolutions filed in the 2007 proxy season, a figure that is double the number of resolutions filed three years ago (see related story in International Finance section). Examples like General Motors (which is considering a resolution to provide the past ten years data as well as ten years projections of estimated annual greenhouse gas emissions from its products and operations) or Dominion Resources (where a whopping 22% of shareholders are seeking a report on how the company responds to regularity, competitive and public pressure to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions from products and operations), are rare, but expected to increase by leaps and bounds. While discrete shareholder resolutions have been successful in forcing boards to come up with transparent climate change policies, much is still needed to be done at the regulator’s level to make such disclosures a norm.