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Climate-action initiative boosts target companies

A growing group of institutional investors and money managers is stepping up engagement with greenhouse gas emitters, adding 61 companies to its focus list.

Climate Action 100 Plus is an investor-led initiative to engage with systemically important companies around the world that have the opportunity to drive clean energy transition and to help achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, a global climate change pact. Signatories call on companies to improve governance on climate change, curb emissions and strengthen climate-related financial disclosure.

The added companies are seen as material to the group's investment portfolios and have either a significant opportunity to drive clean energy transition at a global or regional level or may be exposed to climate-related financial risks, a news release from the initiative said. When launched in December, it focused on 100 companies.

So far, 289 investors representing almost $30 trillion in assets and 29 countries have signed on; when the initiative launched in December, it had 225 signatories representing $26.3 trillion. New signatories include the 43 billion ($57.1 billion) Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, Leeds, England; and the A$65 billion ($48.4 billion) UniSuper, Melbourne, Australia.

Companies on the original focus list have started to make progress as of the end of June, the news release said, with 18% of companies supporting or committing to implement a set of recommendations published by the Financial Stability Board's task force on climate-related financial disclosures. That represents a threefold increase in corporate support since December.

Further, 22% of focus companies have set or committed to set a science-based target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or the equivalent, long-term target beyond the year 2030.