Investors who have been lobbying for some of the US' largest companies to go green are celebrating after a record 57 climate-related shareholder resolutions were filed during the 2008 proxy season – nearly half of which were withdrawn after the companies agreed to action their climate-related commitments.
Prevalent among these companies was family-owned Ford, which becomes the first US auto company to provide a detailed plan of how it plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its new vehicle fleet by at least 30% over the next 12 years.
"We are encouraged by the steady, progressive steps taken during the 2008 proxy voting season to address the momentous challenge posed by climate change," said Connecticut state treasurer Denise L Nappier, principal fiduciary of the state's $26 billion pension fund which filed resolutions with Ford and several other companies.
"Our interest is all about protecting the long-term value of our investment portfolio and the retirement security of millions of American workers. It's imperative that our companies plot a course for sustaining business profitability and investment success in a carbon-constrained society."
One of the most high profile green investors, who have been lobbying for change at oil giant ExxonMobil, is the Rockefeller family. Four resolutions were filed this year and all were supported by the Rockefellers.
"Growing investor pressure is prompting more companies to see the value of making environmentally sound products," said Mindy S Lubber, president of Ceres, a leading coalition of investors and environmental groups that helped coordinate the shareholder filings.
"By re-thinking their strategies with high energy prices and climate change in mind, these companies will have a distinct competitive advantage in the years ahead."
Rockefellers demand ExxonMobile goes green