Investor members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility launched a campaign Monday to have companies align their lobbying activities with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
ICCR members already press companies to disclose their lobbying activities but will now press companies to proactively lobby for climate action. To begin, ICCR members are requesting engagements with 25 companies in sectors considered critical to fighting climate change, including energy providers, transportation, food and beverage, financial services and technology.
"Given the growing momentum towards a transition to a low-carbon economy, we felt it was time to take our corporate lobbying engagements to a new level," said Jake Barnett, manager of sustainable investment services for Wespath Benefits and Investments.
"As more communities struggle with the impacts of climate change, it is important that companies avoid using their power and influence to actively resist viable policy solutions. Supporting policy that aligns with a just transition to a net-zero future is a central way to do this," Mr. Barnett said in a statement.
Part of the initiative is aimed at the disconnect between a company's position on climate change and that of their trade associations and other groups, and the significant dollars spent lobbying to block or delay federal, state, and local legislation and regulation designed to avert the climate crisis.
ICCR officials noted that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continues to fight progress on climate-related policies in contrast to the Business Roundtable's support for the goals of the Paris Agreement and a price on carbon to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. "Too many trade associations, influenced by a subset of their members embedded in the fossil fuel economy, are taking anti-climate positions. These positions are working to the detriment of other members whose operations and supply chains are threatened by the climate crisis. Because trade associations cannot be compelled to disclose their membership or sources of funding, these contradictions are opaque to their own members, investors, and society," said Kate Monahan, shareholder engagement manager for ICCR member Friends Fiduciary Corp., in the same statement.
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility's 300 members represent faith communities, asset managers, unions, pension funds and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of more than $500 billion.