RI ESG Briefing, March 5: ExxonMobil to face climate change shareholder resolution

The round-up of ESG news


The Carbon Disclosure Project has rebranded to becomeCDP. “We no longer work on the issues of carbon, energy and climate alone but have expanded to cover a wider spectrum of the earth’s natural capital, specifically water and forests,” explains CEO Paul Simpson. Some 722 investors representing $87trn, or more than half the world’s invested capital, request corporate climate data through CDP.

The CDP’s Climate Disclosure Standards Board has teamed up with South Africa-based carbon and climate change advisory firm Promethium Carbon on a publication called Climate Change – Your Journey to Integrated Reporting. The 24-page document aims to be a reference tool for companies on integrated and climate change-related reporting.

The green economy has attracted $4.1trn of invested or committed capital as of the end of last year, according to the Green Transition Scoreboard from information provider Ethical Markets Media. “The year 2012 was an inflection point for the green transition worldwide,” it said. Technology and innovation in areas like electricity generation and transport began forcing “structural changes and rethinking of business models”.


A new guide to help investors address human rights risks has been launched by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) in collaboration with Calvert Investments and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). It is called Investing the Rights Way and shows how the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights can help investors assess and address human rights risks in their portfolios and benchmark and engage the companies they hold.

The Haas School’s Center for Responsible Business at the University of California has been named as the new secretariat for the US Network of the United Nations Global Compact. As secretariat, the center will play a major role in helping the nearly 500-organization US Network support the UN Global Compact’s goals in such areas as human rights, labor conditions, environment, and anti-corruption.

Oxfam is now targeting Belgium in its campaign to eradicate trading in food commodities, according to the Financial Times. The group, which had success on the issue in Germany and France, is investigating KBC and Dexia as well as French banks and insurers with a Belgian presence such as BNP Paribas, ING Bank and Axa, the FT said.h6. Governance

The Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order in Milwaukee and the New York-based Christopher Reynolds Foundation have filed a shareholder resolution calling on oil giant ExxonMobil to review its exposure to catastrophic weather events and climate risk. ExxonMobil has made some declarations in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and to the CDP, but they are “vague narratives, providing no actual data or plans, and provide little actual transparency”, said co-filer Stephen Viederman, Finance Chair of the Reynolds Foundation. The company holds its annual meeting in May.

French activist investment house PhiTrust has launched a governance campaign at Renault, according to a Dow Jones report. PhiTrust, backed by advisory firm ProxInvest, fund wants the carmaker to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive that are held by Carlos Ghosn, who also heads Japan’s Nissan. PhiTrust plans to file a resolution at the French firm’s annual meeting on April 30, Dow Jones added.

The $161.4bn (€123.7bn) California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) and fund firm Relational Investors have filed a presentation urging US industrial group Timken to “unlock shareholder value” by separating its steel and bearings businesses. The pair argue that Timken’s conglomerate structure is impairing shareholder value.

Governance research firm GMI Ratings has reviewed the boards of the 40 companies in the FTSE Milano Italia Borsa (MIB) and found they will have to make major changes in the next two years if they want to meet legislation that boards must be 33% female by 2015. “Women currently hold just over one- tenth of the directorships at companies in the index, and only seven of the firms have boards that are at least 20% female, with none having attained the 33% target yet,” GMI said.

A two-year legal fight by ChemSec, the not-for-profit group, and advocacy group ClientEarth has led the European Chemicals Agency to release information about which companies are engaged in hazardous chemical production in the European Union. Companies figuring on the list include BASF, Umicore and Lanxess, ChemSec said. “For the first time, we have solid and up-to-date information about the production of chemicals, which makes it possible for investors to sufficiently evaluate the risks associated with a company’s portfolio of chemical products,” said Sonja Haider, ChemSec business and investor advisor.