Moody’s to give shareholders vote on climate plan after Hohn campaign

Another win for activist hedge fund billionaire

Hedge fund billionaire and activist Sir Chris Hohn has succeeded in getting financial services firm Moody’s to let investors vote on its climate policy at its annual general meeting next year, racking up another win for his ‘Say on Climate’ campaign that has already borne fruit at Spanish airports firm Aena.

Moody’s Corporation – which last year acquired ESG research house Vigeo Eiris – said it affirmed the principles of the campaign following a resolution filed in November; the move makes it the first S&P 500 company to do so, it said.

It involves a “disclosure of emissions, a comprehensive plan to manage those emissions, and a shareholder vote on the plan”.

The move was expected, with Hohn telling an investor webinar recently: “I’ve had discussions with the CEO and CFO of Moody’s, almost every Friday for the last three weeks; there are clear expectations that they will support the resolution and embrace it, and say that this is a good thing.”

The Say on Climate campaign is led by the activist investor’s hedge fund The Children’s Investment Fund Management and The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK), with support from NGOs ShareAction and CDP as well as the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), which represents funds with a combined £300bn.

Other targets include S&P Global and Google’s parent company Alphabet (see earlier RI coverage).

It comes as Unilever has pledged to amend its bylaws to introduce a three-yearly shareholder vote on its climate strategy – it was the first FTSE 100 firm to make this move. 

For its part, Moody’s says it was one of the first financial services firms to report against the TCFD and was even featured as a case study in the TCFD 2020 Status Report. It has an ‘A List’ ranking from the CDP.

“Activating a sustainable future for the environment is a core objective for Moody’s and we are proud to take a leading role in supporting the Say on Climate campaign,” said Moody’s incoming CEO Robert Fauber.