Climate change has long been a concern for responsible investors, but has recently gained more widespread prominence due to the increasingly dire IPCC reports. The threats implied by this new data cannot be overstated, and the longer we wait to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the more difficult and expensive the task will become.
Investors’ interest in climate change stems not only from their fiduciary concerns regarding the real and immediate risk climate changes poses to their own institutional assets, but from their concerns about its broader and longer term ramifications on global economic stability. For faith-consistent investors, these concerns take on a distinctly human dimension as they consider the justice implications for vulnerable communities who, due to their resource constraints, will disproportionately bear the impacts of climate change.
How Responsible Investors Press for Corporate Climate Action
Reports of accelerated global warming have made it clear that controlling man-made GHG emissions must be a priority if we are to limit the most deleterious impacts of climate change. For this reason, members' corporate engagements call for the measurement, disclosure and reduction of GHG emissions including the setting of quantifiable, science-based and time-bound reduction targets. Engagements also focus on the "carbon asset risk" of current and untapped reserves as well as new investments in fossil fuel exploration in light of impending climate regulation that will likely render these reserves unburnable. As a result, many companies, including the top five U.S. oil companies, are integrating carbon pricing into business planning as they assess the economic viability of future projects.
ICCR members seek to move companies along a “hierarchy of impact” that will gradually reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and advance their progress towards greater sustainability. Understanding its importance in driving the energy transition, ICCR members actively support climate legislation and regulation from the global to local level and seek greater disclosure around companies’ lobbying and political activites to ensure that they are consistent with stated policies on environmental issues. In addition, ICCR members are working to help educate the investment community as well as the corporations we work with about opportunities in climate financing that will help to build the coming green economy.
Featured ICCR Initiative
Invested in Change: Faith-Consistent Investing in a Climate-Challenged Word. ICCR's white paper explains how investors are using the power of shareholder engagement to improve corporate practices on climate change.
"While other organizations choose to lead more public-facing activist campaigns, applying external pressure to companies, ICCR tends to work outside the eye of the public building relationships with company management and pressing for the internal policy and practice improvements necessary to bring about systemic and enduring change. We view these inside/outside strategies as complimentary and mutually empowering. In fact, some of our greatest successes occur when all stakeholders—investors, NGOs, community groups and companies—can collaborate and bring their respective talents to the negotiating table to find common ground."
ICCR's Insights for Investors Working for Bolder Intervention on Climate Change: How shareholder engagement can be used to drive corporate innovation in addressing climate change.
Raising the Bar: Led by member Walden Asset Management, ICCR’s Raising the Bar campaign is an urgent and necessary response to the ongoing climate crisis.
Featured Climate Change Resources
CDP's Global Forests Report. This report sets out a five-stage process for companies to help drive deforestation out of their supply chains.
Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. From the NY Times.
Are Banks Prepared for Climate Change?: A report by Boston Common Asset Management
Divestment Alone Won't Beat Climate Change: Harvard Business School Blog
Policy Engagement Toolkit: A resource for investors wishing to engage companies on potential conflicts with their lobbying and political spending activities.