The investor group Climate Action 100 Plus called on 161 companies Monday to commit to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare to be assessed on their progress.
A letter sent Monday to CEOs and board chairmen by a steering committee of Climate Action 100 Plus, whose members represent more than 500 global investors and a collective $47 trillion in assets, said the group will measure companies' progress against a benchmark developed with leading research organizations. The 161 focus companies are collectively responsible for up to 80% of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions, the investor group said.
The Climate Action 100+ Net-Zero Company Benchmark, expected to be released in 2021, will use 30 indicators "designed to clarify investor expectation," and show which companies are leading the transition to net-zero emissions, said the letter. It also asked companies to provide disclosures consistent with the benchmark "to enable investors to assess your company's potential for long-term value." And the letter further called on companies to confirm their emission reduction targets and to work with investors on net-zero transition action plans.
Signers of the Climate Action 100 Plus letter include investor representatives and CEOs of five investor networks —Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and Principles for Responsible Investment.
Significant progress has already been made by some focus companies in line with investor expectations and engagement, the investor group said. That includes 120 companies nominating a board member or committee with explicit oversight of climate change, 50 companies saying they aim to achieve net-zero emissions in line with Paris Agreement goals no later than 2050, and 59 companies formally supporting recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Disclosure.
While acknowledging the progress, the letter said that greater action is needed to prevent otherwise avoidable climate change.