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Governance

SSGA supports more climate-change disclosure proposals in first half of 2017

State Street Global Advisors announced on Wednesday its shareholder votes in the first half of 2017 targeted energy companies over their disclosures regarding climate change.

SSGA noted it targeted oil and gas, utilities and mining sectors, and cast three votes resulting in passed proposals at Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum and PPL requesting the oil and gas companies provide an assessment of their portfolios under the 2-degrees scenario, which is the concept of limiting the average global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.

In its recap of the first six months of 2017, SSGA said 2-degrees Celsius proposals it voted for at high-impact companies increased to 15 from nine during the same period in 2016. In the first half of the year, the firm voted against management on 12 proposals and with management on three proposals, all in favor of climate-change disclosure. In 2016, SSGA cast eight votes against management and one with management on similar proposals.

Occidental Petroleum shareholders voted in favor of a climate change disclosure proposal led by the $331.6 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, and other investors at the company's annual meeting on May 12. That vote was also the first time BlackRock (BLK) announced its support for a climate-change related shareholder proposal. The PPL Corp. vote followed on May 18, led by the $192 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, and other investors, and the Exxon Mobil vote took place on May 31, also led by CalPERS and the New York fund.

In a report on SSGA's views on climate disclosure, SSGA noted it has held more than 240 climate-related engagements with 168 companies, and called on high-impact sectors like oil and gas, utilities and mining to provide information in four areas: Climate risk governance and board oversight; the establishment and disclosure of greenhouse gas emission goals; the disclosure of carbon price assumptions; and "impacts of scenario planning on long-term capital allocation decisions."

The report is available on SSGA's website.