Downing alongside 17 other investors representing $1.8trn AUM call for climate clarity from 35 FTSE 350 companies.
The investors, which includes Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), Sarasin & Partners, CCLA and Ethos Foundation, have written to the chairs of the targeted FTSE 350 companies setting out their expectations for shareholder votes on climate transition plans ahead of next year’s AGM season.
Investors have for several years called on companies to provide such votes to enhance transparency and accountability given the substantial climate-related financial risks. While some companies have responded positively, the letter notes: “such resolutions during 2023 were far from standard practice, including among high-emitting companies.”
While encouraging companies to provide a climate transition plan vote, the letter, signed by 18 investors representing £1.8trn AUM, issues a warning to those who haven’t, stating: “Having such a vote will enable shareholders in the first instance to express their view on transition plans through a specific resolution rather than immediately voting against the chair or another board member.”
The letter focuses on companies within sectors considered to “face heightened climate risks, whose actions are essential to the accelerated action required to meet the Paris goals and where the risks we face as investors are substantial."
Roger Lewis, Head of Responsible Investment, said: “This is a good example of combining stewardship with climate ambition, especially as transition plans are becoming more frequent and high profile at AGMs. We are pleased to be partnering with LAPPF on this initiative, and we look forward to actively assessing and then voting on the credibility of companies’ transition plans that follow into 2024.”