In Fight to Reduce Carbon Emissions, Investor Coalition Seeks to Turn Corporate Promises into Action

Dec 14th 2016

Letter to over 100 Companies Presses for Follow-Through on Stated Commitments to Set Science-Based GHG Targets.

NEW YORK, NY, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2016 – Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), announced that  they sent letters to over 100 publicly held companies encouraging them to make good on statements that they would adopt science-based GHG reduction goals within the next two years.

ICCR is a coalition of faith- and values-based shareholders representing over $200 billion in invested capital who advocate for greater corporate responsibility on social and environmental concerns, including climate change. The letters were signed by 60 institutional investor members who argue that the setting of science-based targets is in the best long-term interests of the companies and the broader economy.

The companies receiving the letter indicated in answers on the CDP’s annual Climate Survey that they would be adopting science-based targets within the next two years. The letter is meant to voice support for these commitments and spur the companies to follow through on these promises, particularly in light of a new and uncertain regulatory and policy landscape on climate-related issues.

According to the letter: The case for setting science-based targets is compelling. Ambitious emissions reduction targets provide the context needed for strategic investments to transform business models, create and penetrate new markets, prepare companies for regulation and help identify risks and opportunities.

Further, CDP reports that companies that set strong targets evidence strong financial results. According to a 12/8/16 piece in the Wall Street Journal, several high profile corporations including Walmart, Alphabet (Google) and American Electric Power Co. have gone on record to say that, regardless of the changes the new administration may seek to bring to environmental regulations, they were locked into a lower-emissions trajectory driven in part by market forces, such as cheaper prices for natural gas and wind power.

Said Aaron Ziulkowski of Walden Asset Management, “Over 200 companies have committed to adopting targets through the Science-Based Target Initiative, a collaboration between CDP, The World Resources Institute, the UN Global Compact and the World Wildlife Foundation. We want to voice our strong support for those companies that have signaled their intention to engage with the Initiative and urge them to move forward with those commitments as soon as possible.”

While there are compelling financial reasons for target setting, ICCR members, many of whom are faith-based investors, also make the moral case for immediate action. Said Rev. Michael Crosby of Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment, “The world’s poorest, most disadvantaged communities, those who have benefitted least from the growth of the fossil fuel-driven economy, are predicted to be most directly impacted by climate change. Ethical business practices are in the long-term interests of these companies and they should act quickly to reduce GHG emissions by adopting meaningful and science-based targets.”

Said Christina Herman, Program Director for ICCR’s environment initiatives, “Industry leaders recognize that the setting of robust GHG reduction targets is critical for the long-term vitality of their businesses. Companies like Coca Cola Enterprises, PepsiCo, Dell, Diageo, Procter & Gamble, Kellogg, General Mills and Walmart, among others, have had science-based GHG reduction targets approved. We are hopeful that our letter helps companies to see the importance of their contribution to the fight to preserve a stable climate on which the global economy depends, and moves them to make their emissions reduction promises a reality.”

About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Celebrating its 45th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, NGOs and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $200 billion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability on questions such as climate change, corporate water stewardship, sustainable food production, human trafficking and slavery in global supply chains and increased access to financial and health care services for communities in need.