Companies often don’t make the connection between climate talk and lobbying, study finds

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“Until this misalignment is corrected, corporate leadership on climate policy will continue to represent a significant weakness in America’s growing business effort to lead the transition to a clean, resilient, and sustainable economy,” said Ceres said in the report.

Additionally, activist investors report misaligned policy spending on climate and other environmental, social and governance issues. Shareholder proposals asking companies to address these disparities made up the bulk of political spending-related resolutions in the 2022 proxy season, according to findings from As You Sow, the Sustainable Investments Institute and Proxy Impact.

This shareholder pressure is slowly starting to pay off for investor advocates: Exxon Mobil Corp. earlier this year released a report on its 2020 lobbying efforts on climate policy and other issues, including information on its involvement in trade associations, thanks to a shareholder. proposal that won majority support at the company’s annual meeting last year.

As shareholders prepare to file their resolutions with the Securities and Exchange Commission for next year’s proxy season, ESG investors indicate they will be stepping up pressure on companies to address these disparities.

“Third-party lobbying affects a myriad of issues, including obstructing climate change mitigation activities, but also voter suppression and spreading false information to discredit ESG investing,” said Marcela Pinilla, Director of Sustainable Investing at Zevin Asset Management, in a note to clients. “Our proxy voting policies reflect our disapproval of board members who fail to advance their social and environmental commitments.”

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