US faith investors see further transatlantic collaborations like BP and Shell resolutions

300-member, $100bn ICCR issues 2015 proxy voting guide

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), the US umbrella group which represents almost 300 faith-based institutions, socially responsible asset management companies, unions, pension funds and colleges and universities, says it expects more transatlantic investor collaborations like the current shareholder resolutions on climate change at BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

Both BP and Shell are advising their shareholders to back the ‘Strategic Resilience for 2035 and Beyond’ resolutions at their annual general meetings (AGMs) this spring. The motions have been filed by a group of leading UK and international investors under the ‘Aiming for A’ banner coordinated by charity fund specialist CCLA.

The wider co-filing group includes asset owners and fund managers and the process has been assisted by Client Earth, the law firm backed by rockstars Coldplay and Brian Eno, and campaign group ShareAction.
The ICCR, whose members represent over $100bn (€88.6bn) of assets, calls it a “first of its kind cross-border collaboration” and added: “We expect to see similar cross-Atlantic collaborations in the coming years.”

The comments come in the ICCR’s new 2015 Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guide, which reveals that its members have filed 227 resolutions at US companies for 2015, a 15% rise over the 193 seen at the same time last year.The growth has been driven mostly by filings on climate change and corporate lobbying and political contributions. The number of resolutions has climbed steadily in recent years; in 2011 there were 160.

ExxonMobil and Chevron are again “tied for first place” as the companies with the most ICCR proposals: each is facing eight.

“We expect similar collaborations in the coming years”

As was the case in 2014, climate change is the predominant theme: 67, or nearly 30% of all resolutions filed, deal with the issue. ICCR members are also looking at stranded assets. They have asked three companies, Anadarko Petroleum, CONSOL Energy and Hess, to report on their strategies for addressing the risk that their assets will be stranded due to global climate change and its associated demand reductions for oil and gas, including analysis of long- and short-term financial and operational risks to each company.
“As we enter our 44th year we are bolstered in the knowledge that as the field of corporate social responsibility which ICCR members helped found in the early 1970s continues to evolve, so does the work of our growing coalition of active shareowners to refine their methodology and design newer and better models for corporate engagement,” the ICCR said. Link