Campaign group ShareAction refutes BusinessEurope claims, ramping up climate lobbying debate

Letter from CEO Catherine Howarth to lobby group head Marcegaglia

Campaign group ShareAction has ramped up its push against corporate lobbying resisting climate change solutions with a letter addressed to the senior oil industry executive who chairs BusinessEurope, the European umbrella business group.

The issue kicked off earlier this month when, as RI reported, Sweden’s SEK310bn (€32.5bn) buffer fund Fjärde AP-fonden (AP4) was among a group of 25 investors to write to nine large listed companies asking them to review their membership of business lobby groups that the investors say are looking to undermine European Union climate policy. The campaign is being coordinated by ShareAction, the London-based group; it said the investor coalition has a combined £45bn under management.

Targets included BHP Billiton, BP, EDF, Glencore, Johnson Matthey, Procter & Gamble, Rio Tinto, Statoil and Total to get them to leave what are termed “regressive” climate lobbying groups.
Brussels-based BusinessEurope, which represents 40 member associations across the continent, hit back with its President Emma Marcegaglia and Director General Markus Beyrer issuing a strongly worded statement in which they rejected being named and shamed in such a way by a group of SRI investors.Marcegaglia is the prominent Italian industrialist who chairs oil and gas giant Eni and is CEO of a family steel business.

They took issue with what they said was a “very inaccurate and biased view” about the lobby group’s positions on climate policies.
In the latest development, ShareAction CEO Catherine Howarth has written to Marcegaglia refuting this accusation, saying it is “entirely evidence-based”. The campaign, she explains, is based on a report by the Policy Studies Institute at the University of Westminster which drew on a wide range of sources as well as interviews and self-reported responses from companies to the CDP.
She points out that BusinessEurope sought to prevent the EU Emissions Trading Scheme’s “backloading” scheme that was backed by major investors coordinated by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).
The letter concludes that ShareAction will continue to “call out” lobbying which is inconsistent with the need for ambitious climate action – and that Howarth would be delighted to continue an “open and constructive dialogue”. A BusinessEurope spokesman has been contacted for a response.