Hundreds of companies from the United States and Europe will be forced to cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions according to the plans of the British billionaire and investor Chris Hohn.
Hohn aims to achieve this by enlisting global investors and together demand an annual vote by companies at annual shareholder meetings related to their climate plans.
Last month, a precedent was set by Hohn by using a shareholder resolution which was used to force Spanish airports operator Aena to create a draft for a new climate plan and submit that draft to a vote at the annual shareholder meeting of the company. This is one of the incidents that made Hohn being recognized as a major investor voice on climate change.
In the next two years, the model used in the case of Aena is aimed to be replicated by Hohn, founder of the TCI hedge fund, for more companies. He plans to achieve this by mobilising investors to get together and sponsor similar resolutions which will part of his new Say on Climate http://www.sayonclimate.org campaign.
“Of course, not all companies will support the Say On Climate. There will be fights, but we can win the votes,” Hohn told a webinar with representatives of pension funds and insurance companies on Thursday.
More than $3 trillion in assets were represented by the funds taking part, said Hohn’s Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. The webinar was later posted here on the Say on Climate website.
A new chapter in the wider global efforts by activist investors to compel companies to be more ‘climate’ responsible has been opened by Hohn’s campaign.
The campaign plan of Hohn includes measures including shareholders submitting a resolution that essentially requests companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and then present a plan on how they intend to reduce such emission and lastly, giving shareholders an annual nonbinding advisory vote on that plan.
The aim of Hohn is to drive a systemic shift so that it becomes standard practice for all major companies in which they have to submit their climate plans annually to be scrutinized instead of investors pushing companies to take up specific actions by groups of high-emitting companies, such as oil and gas majors.
“We think we need an annual general meeting shareholder vote to create an accountability mechanism for the execution of the plan – otherwise companies will do as little as they can get away with,” Hohn said.
Earlier this month, U.N. climate envoy Mark Carney backed the idea
(Adapted from Reuters.com)