Significant progress is being made by the largest greenhouse gas emitters to address climate change, but "far more" needs to be done, according to the first progress report of the Climate Action 100 Plus investors coalition released Wednesday.
The large global investor-led initiative has more than 370 global investors with $35 trillion in assets under management that work with some of the largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to address the climate crisis and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The progress report found that the initiative's 161 focus companies, which are responsible for nearly 80% of global industrial emissions, need to do more to reduce emissions and improve climate-related financial disclosures.
"Too many companies are playing catch-up and a critical ambition gap remains," the report said.
Progress is noticeably slow when it comes to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, with fewer than 1 in 10 of the focus companies doing so.
What is working is the "first wave" of corporate leadership committing to net zero business strategies, which is expected to set investor expectations for other companies to follow.
The Climate Action 100 Plus initiative was developed and launched by 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 — partnering with five international institutional investors: AustralianSuper; the $379.2 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento; HSBC Global Asset Management; Ircantec; and Manulife Asset Management.
"This is an enormous initiative that is unprecedented in its level of investor collaboration around the globe with the largest greenhouse gas emitters. It is very much investor-led," Cynthia McHale, senior director of Climate Action 100 Plus investor engagement, said in an interview.
"We are spanning the world, and it has gotten incredibly focused, Ms. McHale said. "This form of investor engagement seems to be working."