Climate change and shareholder advocacy
How Everence is engaging companies on climate and sustainability concerns
For over 10 years, climate change and environmental sustainability concerns have been an important part of the advocacy work of Everence, as well as our partners at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and Ceres.
As new and updated scientific reports document the accelerating threats of climate change, the need to act has never been more urgent. Since 2013, Everence has made shareholder advocacy on climate change a top priority, increasing advocacy efforts to impact dozens of energy and related companies.
The Everence climate change engagement strategy seeks to engage companies on three key themes:
- Acknowledgement of climate change and the development of emissions reduction plans. Everence seeks public acknowledgement of the seriousness of climate change and the human contribution to it. Everence also presses companies to develop climate change risk management plans and set goals for reducing their carbon footprint.
- Transparency of political funding and lobbying. Full disclosure of a company’s lobbying activities – directly or indirectly through trade associations – is helpful in assessing if its lobbying is consistent with its expressed goals and in the best interests of shareholders and long-term value. This is especially true regarding climate change legislation, where companies may publicly call for action but discretely fund initiatives to stall or weaken regulatory action. Everence encourages transparency and accountability in the use of staff time and corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation.
- Examination of carbon asset risk (CAR). Carbon asset risk is the risk that some fossil fuel reserves may never be extracted and burned due to unfavorable economics or legislation targeting carbon-intense forms of energy. Raising this issue can be helpful in addressing climate change, as companies won’t invest capital in developing the most polluting types of fossil fuels if they believe those fuels will be too expensive to compete in the marketplace. It can also redirect dollars toward less carbon-intensive, and renewable, energy sources.
- Everence shareholder advocacy actions on these climate change issues include letter writing, filing shareholder resolutions, dialogue with corporate managers, and voting our stock shares at annual meetings.