BOSTON — None of the 100 largest U.S. mutual funds supported any of the 33 global warming resolutions filed with U.S. companies in 2005, according to a proxy voting report commissioned by Ceres, an investor coalition.
However, a new survey by the Civil Society Institute, a research and advocacy organization, shows a majority of U.S. mutual fund investors want their fund managers to vote in favor of such resolutions and to actively screen companies linked to climate change problems.
According to the poll, 79% of respondents "think that companies should analyze the long-term financial impacts that global warming will have on their businesses and on the potential value of their stock to people who either own shares directly or indirectly through a mutual fund," the statement said.
"Mutual funds, which are responsible for the retirement investments of millions of investors, should join in with their institutional investor peers" involved in the issue, Alisa Gravitz, executive director of Co-op America, a consumer and investor organization and a member of Ceres, said in a statement.
"Mutual fund investors and their funds are completely at odds today on the topic of global warming," Pam Solo, president of Civil Society Institute, said in the statement. "The fact that mutual funds are ‘missing in action' on climate change is an unacceptable situation that investors should insist on changing."
Charles Freadhoff, American Funds spokesman, said, "We don't ever discuss reasons for our votes."
"Most policy issues, while we may support them philosophically, generally don't create shareholder value and therefore we abstain from voting on such matters, said John Deming, spokesman for Vanguard, which abstained from voting on the resolutions in question last year.
Mr. Freadhoff and Mr. Deming noted the guidelines for proxy voting and the votes are posted on their company websites.