Right now, we have an opportunity to hold companies accountable for the actions they’re taking to make the climate crisis worse.
In May, boards of massive corporations like Ford Motor Company, Exxon Mobil and General Motors will face questions at their annual meetings about how they influence politicians to maintain the status quo.
This year, the companies have a choice to make: Will they get on board with combating climate change? Or will they continue to use loopholes to secretly influence politicians to maintain policies that increase their bottom line?
What they choose likely will depend on how their biggest investors — retirement savings companies like BlackRock, Vanguard and Fidelity — vote on shareholder resolutions asking the companies to be honest about their political activity.
To: Laurence D. Fink, CEO, BlackRock; Mortimer J. Buckley, CEO, the Vanguard Group; and Abigail P. Johnson, Chairman, CEO and President, Fidelity Investments:
Last October, the urgency of averting climate catastrophe became clear when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its report explaining that global carbon emissions need to drop by half by 2030 — and reach net-zero by 2050 — just to have a 50% chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change.
However, we are not on track, with major American companies in your portfolio denying the inevitable on climate change for short-term gain. To make matters worse, those entities with the biggest leverage— the largest fund managers — have failed to use the power of their position to effect change and promote long-term value. Private dialogue is not yielding results nearly as fast as needed to mitigate climate risks to long-term investors and the public at large. This needs to change.
Furthermore, we know that the major companies benefiting from the status quo have hired armies of lobbyists and unleashed secret spending to buy politicians who will deny climate science, ignore the warnings and obstruct the policy solutions we need to mitigate the current crisis.
In the coming weeks, Ford Motor Company, Exxon Mobil, General Motors and BlackRock will face shareholder resolutions asking company leadership to be honest with shareholders and the public about their secret lobbying and election spending to influence policymakers in Washington, D.C.
The change and accountability these resolutions call for not only are essential for the survival of the planet and its inhabitants, but they’re critical for maintaining and growing long-term shareholder value for your customers.
You have the power — and the obligation — to protect your customers’ investments. Millions have entrusted you to look out for their financial future. You are in a position to do just that, as well as to protect — or undermine — your customers’ ability to simply exist and thrive.
On behalf of myself, your customers and future generations, I urge you to take your responsibility seriously and vote for each of these important resolutions.