The changing climate is the world’s foremost environmental challenge with far-reaching economic, environmental, and social implications that create risks and opportunities for companies and investors. As investors who hold shares of publicly traded companies, we believe we have a unique ability and responsibility to influence corporate leadership to embrace its role in identifying and advancing solutions.
While we cannot anticipate the global pathway to a low carbon economy, we know we want to use our investment influence and resources to advance a low carbon future. As such, a multiple scenario approach is unnecessary.
We utilize active ownership strategies to encourage companies to aggressively pursue a path toward a carbon-neutral future by asking them to:
- set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets based on widely-accepted scientific research.
- advocate for and support effective climate policy with lawmakers at the local, state, national, and international levels.
As companies set science-based targets, they signal to lawmakers that addressing climate risk makes good business sense, enabling legislators and regulators to develop sound public policy solutions that, in turn, provide companies effective frameworks to support climate-related goals.
Our active ownership efforts on climate risk span decades. In 1990, we filed our first climate-related shareholder resolution, asking the company to commit to the Valdez Principles, one of the first corporate environmental codes of conduct. In 1998, we filed a resolution asking an insurance company to review the potential effects of climate change on its business and financial outlook.
Today, we work independently and in partnership with others to move toward a carbon-neutral future. Results of these efforts, including direct company engagement, collaborative initiatives, and public policy activities, are disclosed in our Annual ESG Impact Report 2019 available at https://www.bostontrustwalden.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2019-ESG-Impact-Report_Digital-PDF.pdf.
Our proxy voting record supports our engagement efforts. In 2019, we voted for all shareholder proposals that asked companies to set GHG emission reduction targets and improve climate risk disclosure.