NBIM rejects climate lobbying proposal at Toyota filed by European investors

Proposal flagged by CA100+ opposed by manager of Norway’s trillion-dollar fund at Japanese carmaker.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the manager of Norway’s trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund, has revealed it will oppose the climate lobbying proposal put forward by European investors at Japanese carmaker Toyota.

The resolution, which goes to the vote on Wednesday, was filed by Dutch giant APG Asset Management, Danish pension fund AkademikerPension and Norway’s Storebrand Asset Management.

It is the first time that Toyota has been hit with a shareholder proposal and follows two years of “intense engagement”, according to Anders Schelde, CIO at AkademikerPension.

Big investors, including Californian public pension giants CalSTRS and CalPERS, have already thrown their weight behind the request. CalPERS co-leads engagement on Toyota as part Climate Action 100+, according to Responsible Investor’s database.

The vote has also been flagged by CA100+ to its membership, which comprises more than 700 investors representing over $68 trillion in assets under management.

The proposal calls on Toyota to amend its articles to include the provision of an annual review into the impact of its policy advocacy efforts and its alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement.

According to InfluenceMap, the UK-based think-tank and CA100+ data partner, Toyota has one of the weakest records on climate lobbying among global automakers, with regards to both direct lobbying and indirect pressure through trade bodies.

Other supporters of the proposal include the Office of the New York City Comptroller, which oversees the city’s five pension funds, the Church of England Pension Board (CEPB) and Swedish government pension fund AP7.

Climate lobbying has been a focus area for AP7 and CEPB in recent years. The duo collaborated with BNP Paribas Asset Management on the creation of the Global Standard on Responsible Climate Lobbying, which was released last year.

“While we welcome that Toyota has produced previous disclosures related to climate lobbying, we believe we need more depth and detail to properly understand what the company is doing,” said Laura Hillis, CEPB’s director of climate and environment.

Influential proxy advisers ISS and Glass Lewis are split on the proposal, with the former reportedly supporting it and the latter opposing.

NBIM told Responsible Investor it does not comment beyond what is disclosed on its website.