Green Investors Pressure Corporations

Green-minded investment groups continue to apply pressure on corporations.

A record 54 shareholder resolutions requesting that companies disclose what they are doing about climate change were filed with U.S. companies this year, nearly double the number filed two years ago, according to Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmental groups. To date, 14 of the resolutions have been withdrawn after companies disclosed their global-warming-related plans, including strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Those companies that have agreed to do so include major coal-dependent utilities Allegheny Energy, Alliant Energy, Dominion Resources, and Southern, as well as others like Harley Davidson, Lowes, Big Lots, and Continental.

"Many U.S. companies are confronting the risks and opportunities from climate change," according to Ceres, "but others are not responding adequately, and they may be compromising their long-term competitiveness as a result."

Among the holdouts are oil giants Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips, but the resolutions could go to a vote at upcoming corporate annual meetings. In its announcement today, Ceres blasted Exxon Mobil, U.S. Airways, and Standard Pacific for being unresponsive to investor requests to assess climate change risk and strategies.

By Bret Schulte