$202bn investor group challenges US firms over trade group membership

Responsible investors query National Association of Manufacturers’ sustainability stance

A group of 23 investors with a combined asset base of $202bn (€143bn) has written to the senior executives at US companies challenging them over their involvement in the National Association of Manufacturers trade group.

The shareholders have expressed their concerns over the misalignment between companies’ own stance on sustainability and their involvement in Washington-based NAM.
The trigger for the engagement is NAM’s support for republican Senator Mitch McConnell’s proposals to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
A sample letter – from Walden Asset Management’s Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement Tim Smith to Intel CEO Paul Otellini – says NAM’s stance “contradicts our company’s stated concern about climate change and sustainability”.Among other investors involved in the campaign are Calvert Investments, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, British Colombia Investment Management Corp., Green Century, PaxWorld, Boston Common Asset Management, Domini Social Investments. The UK’s Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and Henderson Global investors are also signatories.
The move follows a letter from 44 international investors with $546bn in assets to the leaders of the US Senate urging them to back the EPA on greenhouse gas regulations that was sent in April.
NAM says the EPA’s “overregulation” of GHG emissions puts manufacturing jobs at risk and prevents economic recovery. It said in a statement: “We urge senators to pass this important amendment to prevent continued uncertainty, likely job losses, rising energy prices and additional administrative costs on manufacturers.”