Firms Pressured to Come Clean: Shareholders Are Mobilising on Climate-Change Issues

Article excerpt

Climate change is being driven rapidly up the corporate agenda, both by government initiatives and by investor concern that its effects may damage shareholder value, according to new research.

The annual Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has seen a tripling in the number of global companies responding to its survey of their policies on tackling climate change.

A separate study in the US by law firm Latham & Watkins has found that shareholders filed 30 resolutions against 27 companies in the past year. These pressed for greater disclosure about the scale of the environmental risks facing these firms and the risk management strategies they were using.

The CDP survey reflects companies with assets worth more than $10 trillion. A number of UK-based companies responded to it, including energy groups BP and BG as well as banks Abbey National and HSBC. These four companies were rated among the best in their class in terms of board-level policies on climate change.

"Investors are saying that climate change can affect shareholder value--both positively and negatively--and the market needs information to assess and value the issue," said James Cameron, the CDP's chairman. …