U.S. money managers are committed to dealing with climate change but are reluctant to challenge companies and are even blocking votes, according to analysis released Monday by ShareAction, a responsible investment campaign group that found European asset managers to be most likely to support climate resolutions.
ShareAction looked at shareholder votes cast by 57 of the world's largest asset managers on 65 proposals to spur corporate action on climate change, including emissions reduction targets, climate reporting and governance, and corporate lobbying, and found that the 10 asset managers least supportive of voting for climate action are based in the U.S.
Six of the 10 — BlackRock Inc., J.P. Morgan , Fidelity Investments, Wellington Management International, Northern Trust and State Street Global Advisers — have come out in support of the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures and joined at least one investor engagement initiative on climate change, but have not voted for climate-related disclosure, according to the report.
"You can't boast climate-awareness in public and block climate goals in private. Ultimately, these investors will be judged on their voting, which is the most powerful tool at their disposal. They have the power to put the brakes on the climate emergency, but they're on auto-pilot, driving us head-on into it. We hope their clients take note of these findings which separate out those who are really walking the walk on climate change," report author Jeanne Martin, senior campaigns officer with ShareAction, said in a release.
The report recommends that pension funds and other asset owners assess asset managers' climate-related performance and voting record on climate change resolutions during the asset manager selection process, monitor their asset managers' proxy voting decisions on climate change resolutions and use the report's data when engaging with asset managers, among other steps.