Dutch governance platform Eumedion presses companies on climate change

12th annual ‘focus letter’ zeroes in on Paris agreement

Eumedion, the Dutch corporate governance and sustainability platform that is backed by domestic and international institutional investors, has urged companies listed in the country to report on impact climate change and the Paris Agreement.

“All Dutch listed companies should analyse the potential risks and opportunities related to climate change for their business model and strategy, and should disclose what concrete efforts will be made to contribute to a carbon-neutral economy in the second half of this century,” Eumedion says. Climate change is one of the main themes that members of the body will focus on during their dialogues with corporates ahead of next year’s reporting and proxy season.

It is the centerpiece of the latest Focus Letter that the Hague-based Eumedion has just sent to the boards of Dutch companies. It is the twelfth such letter to Dutch companies.

“Institutional investors, who manage retirement savings and investments for millions of people, believe that climate change is one of the biggest systemic risks the world currently faces,” the letter states. How such risks are managed by corporate boards is likely to affect investors’ long-term returns, it is argued. Eumedion, which recently announced that Amra Baliç, Head of BlackRock’s EMEA Investment Stewardship team based in London, has joined its board, wants all companies to provide an overview of their efforts to help deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement, accompanied by “relevant data and targets”.Eumedion’s 70 investor members account for more than €6trn in assets under management and own c.25% of Dutch listed shares.

Eumedion, headed up by Managing Director Rients Abma, also wants companies to provide information on board recruitment process, selection criteria and diversity policy.

“Climate change is one of the world’s biggest systemic risks.”

Eumedion’s Executive Board comprises Peter Borgdorff of healthcare pension fund Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), Garmt Louw of Pensioenfonds Shell, Triodos Investment Management’s Erik Breen and APG Asset Management’s Claudia Kruse. The General Board consists of Marcel Andringa (PME), Marcel Jeucken (PGGM), Rogier Krens (Achmea Investment Management) and Edith Siermann (Robeco).

In July Eumedion published an evaluation of the 2016 voting season, saying: “Executive remuneration policy, the authority to issue new shares, anti-takeover devices, risk management and audit reports, taxation and climate risks were the main discussion items before and during the 2016 shareholder meetings (AGMs) of Dutch listed companies.”