Europe’s largest asset manager, Amundi, has revealed that it voted against more than 500 directors at 84 firms in the energy and utilities sectors this year as part of its “accelerating” climate engagement.
The trillion-dollar manager also disclosed on Wednesday that as of June it voted against executive pay proposals 89 times this year at “oil and gas and utilities companies” due to a “lack of climate-related performance criteria in their senior management variable compensation schemes”.
“It is our conviction that executive teams should be incentivised to achieve carbon emissions reduction goals,” Amundi added.
Most of the largest energy and utility firms are constituents of the engagement universe of Climate Action 100+ (CA100+), the multi-trillion-dollar initiative backed by more than 700 investors.
Votes against the directors of companies dragging their heels on climate change is becoming more common among some investors.
In March, Responsible Investor reported that Californian pension giant CalPERS opposed 95 directors at 26 high-emitting companies that it engaged with as part of the CA100+ in 2022.
Then in May, US-based faith investor Wespath Benefits and Investments urged Chevron’s shareholders to vote against two directors at the California-based oil giant, saying it believes the company has failed to meaningfully respond to investor concerns around climate-related lobbying.
Despite this, non-governmental organiaation Majority Action highlighted in January that leading members of CA100+ were failing to hold directors at US focus companies to account.
The US non-profit did, however, find Amundi to be among the best performers, along with BNP Paribas Asset Management, which topped the list for votes against directors, supporting just 22.9 percent of the sample.
Amundi was also ranked 10th among the largest asset managers on voting ESG shareholder proposals by ShareAction in January. The UK campaign group found the French manager had supported 93 percent of climate proposals it considered in 2022.
This proxy season, Amundi revealed that it supported 88 percent of climate-related resolutions.
“As part of its 2025 ESG Ambition plan, Amundi is accelerating on its engagement effort and is committed to engage with 1,000 additional companies on their climate strategy,” said Caroline Le Meaux, Amundi’s head of ESG research, engagement and voting. “In 2022, we actively engaged with an extra 418 companies, in addition to the 464 companies already under engagement since 2021.”
Crédit Agricole Assurances to bring voting in-house
Today (13 July) it has also been reported that Crédit Agricole Assurances – the insurance arm of French bank Crédit Agricole – is looking to move its climate voting in-house, having previously delegated its voting policy to its asset management subsidiary, Amundi.
The insurer – which is responsible for around €270 billion in assets – told French publication Agefi that it is working to finalise its voting policy, adding that it will continue to rely on Amundi’s expertise.
Crédit Agricole Assurances said it will develop its own analysis of the carbon trajectories and transition plans of the 20 biggest polluters in its portfolio – in line with its Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA) commitment – as well as engage in shareholder dialogue with a minimum of 20 companies, before deciding how to vote on Say on Climate resolutions.
It also revealed it is seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of listed equity and corporate bond investment portfolio by 25 percent by 2025, as part of its commitment to the NZAOA.
The French insurer is also one of the few remaining members of the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance, which saw more than half of its signatories depart over the past few months.
Amundi has been contacted for comment.