US asset manager leaves CA100+, cites financial materiality

Three investors are no longer signatories to the climate collective engagement initiative.

Boston-based asset manager Loomis Sayles has withdrawn from Climate Action 100+ along with two other investors, Responsible Investor can reveal. 

Launched in 2017 and backed by 700 investors representing more than $68 trillion in assets under management, CA100+ targets the world’s largest polluters with the aim of steering them towards low carbon futures.  

Loomis Sayles – an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers with $302 billion AUM – told RI that it left the initiative in June 2023 “as a result of our routine evaluations to ensure that all our industry commitments continue to be aligned with our ESG philosophy which focuses on financial materiality”.

The firm added that its ESG philosophy remains unchanged and would not be drawn on further details. 

Edinburgh-based Walter Scott & Partners also confirmed to RI that it left CA100+ last month. 

A spokesperson for Walter Scott said the $81.3 billion investor reviews all its affiliations on a regular basis and that CA100+ has been a useful source of collaborative engagement.

“Over time, we have developed and evolved our own approach to analysing climate-related risks and opportunities, embedding these into our investment processes and engagement,” they said. “Our departure from CA100+ will not result in any change to our existing practices in terms of climate analysis or engagement with investee companies.” 

The spokesperson confirmed the firm is engaging with relevant target companies on its own instead. “Walter Scott has good access to company management which, together with its own approach to analysing climate risk, enables us to engage in clients’ best interests.”

PanAgora Asset Management is also no longer listed on CA100+’s signatory directory. A spokesperson for the initiative said this was due to the investor leaving the Ceres Investor Network, which meant it could no longer be a CA100+ signatory. 

RI was unable to reach US-based PanAgora Asset Management.

A CA100+ spokesperson said the three leavers represent “a tiny proportion – less than 0.5 percent – of the entire signatory base of over 700”. They added that there is a list of over 100 prospective firms waiting to join.

CA100+ has come under fire in recent months as part of the anti-ESG backlash.

As well as being used by the likes of Texas as evidence of fossil fuel boycotts by financial institutions, it has been seized upon by Republican politicians and officials to allege collusion – or acting-in-concert – on environmental issues.

Arkansas senator Tom Cotton has accused CA100+ of violating antitrust law, while Arizona attorney-general Mark Brnovich launched an investigation into the scheme on similar grounds. And on 6 December, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee called it a “climate-obsessed corporate cartel”.

The initiative has pushed back on these claims. Anne Simpson, global head of sustainability at Franklin Templeton, previously told RI that they are unfounded.