CalPERS “made significant progress” in moving companies toward its corporate governance point of view on proxy access and climate risk reporting, among other objectives, the Sacramento-based $302.2 billion pension fund announced Wednesday in reporting outcomes of its proxy voting and engagement activity so far this year.
In proxy access, which enables shareholders to use corporate proxy materials to nominee directors, CalPERS has supported such proposals at 100 companies this year and of the 78 which have come to a vote as of Wednesday, 51 have passed.
“We're pleased that many companies' policies are evolving thanks to the outcome of our votes,” Theodore “Ted” Eliopoulos, CalPERS chief investment officer, said in a news release about the proxy-voting outcomes. “Important changes in board leadership and environmental strategies will help strengthen these corporations and, in turn, CalPERS' investments.”
On climate risk, “CalPERS has been engaging fossil-fuel companies directly and through its work with Ceres, a non-profit advocate for sustainability leadership, on the Carbon Asset Risk Initiative,” calling for companies to disclose risk and opportunities posed by climate change, the release said. The BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC boards endorsed shareowner proposals, leading the companies to voluntary agree on additional climate risk reporting.
“We need to be able to pay pensions for the best part of the next century and when we're thinking about the sustainability of the fund, we're not just thinking about the financial dimension, but we're thinking about the environmental dimension, because that's important to risk and return, and we're thinking about people,” said Anne Simpson, director of global governance at the California Public Employees' Retirement System, in the release.