Coalition calls on 14 CEOs to drop chamber memberships

The CEOs of Air Products & Chemicals, Alcoa, American Electric Power and 11 other companies were urged to withdraw their memberships from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Associations of Manufacturers over disagreements on climate change, according to a statement from a group of 43 institutional investors and related organizations.

“Each of the companies has publicly stated that it supports action on climate change, which the chamber and NAM strongly oppose,” the statement said.

Letters from the group, which were sent Tuesday to the CEOs, ask the companies “to address their disagreement with the chamber and NAM on climate change policy by withdrawing membership, publicly disclosing their disagreement, or asking the associations to refund the portion of their dues used to lobby on the issue,” according to the statement.

Institutional investors in the investment coalition include Boston Common Asset Management, Catholic Health East, Catholic Healthcare West, Clean Yield Asset Management, Domini Social Investments, Green Century Capital Management, MMA Praxis Mutual Funds, Pax World Management Corp., The Russell Family Foundation, Trillium Asset Management and Walden Asset Management

Melissa McHenry, AEP spokesman, said, “We do disagree with the chamber's and NAM's position and we actually supported” the American Clean Energy and Security Act that was passed by the House earlier this year and favor climate legislation being considered in the Senate.

“We don't depend on the chamber or NAM to represent our position (on climate action), which is obviously different,” Ms. McHenry said. But “there are a lot of issues beside climate change that the chamber and NAM” and AEP share common interests, she added.

Hank Cox, NAM’s senior media strategist, said in a statement, “The NAM opposed the House passed Waxman-Markey bill (American Clean Energy and Security Act) because it would increase energy prices and cost jobs. Based on our analysis of the bill, conducted with the American Council for Capital Formation, the bill would cost up to 2.4 million jobs and reduce our cumulative (gross domestic product) by up to $3.1 trillion.

“The NAM will continue to work with Congress to adopt legislation that will work toward a reasonable solution on climate issues and use innovative ways to reduce (greenhouse gas) emissions and ultimately spur economic growth,” Mr. Cox said in his statement.

Robert Brown, Air Products spokesman; Kevin Lowery, Alcoa spokesman; and chamber media contacts couldn’t be reached or didn’t respond to requests.