Shareholders Applaud Madison Gas and Electric for New Goal of Net-Zero Carbon Electricity

May 15th 2019




Wisconsin utility shows leadership in adopting de-carbonization targets in alignment with the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).


NEW YORK, NY, Wednesday, May, 15th, 2019 – Shareholders of Madison Gas and Electric (NASDAQ: $MGEE) and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility who have been engaging the company to set more ambitious GHG reduction targets, were gratified by the company’s announcement yesterday that it had set a new goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050.


In order to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that a 45% reduction in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions globally is needed by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 (from 2010 levels) to limit atmospheric temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. The concentrated emissions from the electricity generation sector needs to be even more aggressive and will become an enabler for the transport and building sectors to decarbonize as well. Transitioning to a low-carbon future will fundamentally transform the economy and the competitive environment in which all corporations operate.


In yesterday’s press release, Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler said, "We need ambitious and crucial reductions in carbon emissions that align with the work of the scientific community, specifically the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its assessment of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050."


As of June 2018, over 250 organizations have expressed support for the industry-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, including BlackRock, Fidelity, Glass Lewis, Statoil, and Vanguard. Investors say the recommendations will catalyze more consistent, comparable, and reliable disclosure of climate-related information that will facilitate more informed business and investment decision-making. These disclosures are an important step forward in enabling market forces to drive efficient allocation of capital and support a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy.


ICCR members had called on the company to report on the physical and transition risks and opportunities associated with climate change based on the TCDF recommendations, including setting ambitious targets, consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement.  A resolution was filed for the 2019 proxy, but later withdrawn, as a result of a productive engagement with the company.


"This is a major step forward for MGE in implementing the TCFD recommendations,” said Frank Sherman of Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment (SGI). “SGI members have been engaging Midwestern electricity companies to develop scenario analyses and to set ambitious targets in recognition of recent and increasingly dire scientific climate predictions. We are also asking our portfolio companies to pursue just transition practices to ensure their employees, customers and local communities don't suffer the consequences of decarbonizing their generation capacity."


"We are encouraged by MGE's announcement of its new goal of net-zero carbon electricity aligned with the IPCC assessment of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said Dan Tretow, Director of Financial Services for the School Sisters of St. Francis – International. “As societal awareness of climate change increases and the political environment changes, it will be leading companies like MGE that will be positioned ahead of their peers."


Citing the 1969 Apollo moon landing, accomplished just eight years after President John Kennedy announced the goal, Keebler said, “We are entering a new age in energy, shaped by evolving technology and endless possibilities. What is a concept today could become a reality tomorrow.”

Shareholder say in future dialogue with MGE they will be closely monitoring the implementation of the new targets and will be encouraging the company to ensure that its policies and practices reflect a just transition that protects MGE workers and prioritizes energy access and affordability for its customers.



About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Celebrating its 49th 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 $400 billion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability.