Global finance NGOs urge pension fund support for Chevron carbon-assets resolution Media Release

May 13, 2015 - 8:00am

This is a press release by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project and SumOfUs with supporting statements from The Climate Institute CEO John Connor.

AODP, SumOfUs launch Vote Your Pension platform to focus action on single company

Non-profit organizations working in the finance arena are collaborating on a unique global campaign to pressure the world’s largest investors to support a shareholder resolution at the Chevron Annual General Meeting on May 27.

Filed by US non-profit group As You Sow, the resolution asks Chevron to halt capital expenditure on exploration for more unburnable reserves and instead return capital to shareowners.

To support the Chevron resolution, Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) and SumOfUs today (May 13) launch an online engagement platform, Vote Your Pension (@VoteYourPension).

The VYP platform provides the opportunity for millions of pension fund and mutual fund members to focus coordinated action on a single company in order to protect their retirement savings.

These savings are at risk of being wasted if they are sunk into high-cost, high-carbon projects that fail to make an economic return in the face of lower-than-expected demand, volatile prices, cost-competitive renewable energy and growing climate regulation.

As You Sow CEO Andy Behar said: “As the world moves to cleaner energy sources to avoid catastrophic harm to the planet, it is increasingly likely that the billions of dollars of shareholder capital the oil majors are plowing into finding and developing new reserves will be stranded.”

AODP director Sharan Burrow, General Secretary International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which has the largest number of pension members in the world, said: “People must understand that the real owners of these companies aren’t governments or the super-rich anymore, but ordinary workers like themselves who trust their retirement funds to protect their savings from the ravages of climate change.

“Now is the time to implement an orderly and just transition of the fossil fuel industry that protects both the workers involved and the planet. The Chevron resolution is the perfect start,” she added.

AODP CEO Julian Poulter said: “Those fiduciary investors such as pension funds now have the perfect opportunity to show that they are serious about engagement when it comes to carbon risk. Now is the time to signal to these companies that they need to exit their exploration activities and either diversify or be wound up.”

SumofUs Senior Shareholder Advocacy Manager Lisa Lindsley said: “Our global members have been unable to exercise the shareholder power associated with their retirement savings until now. Vote Your Pension will empower individuals to instruct their mutual funds, pension funds, and other financial middlemen to vote for sustainability.”

Supporters of the resolution and engagement initiative included Carbon Tracker Initiative. Founder and Executive Director Mark Campanale said: “Commodity price lows are the perfect time to wind back the operations of fossil fuel companies and then keep them wound back to ensure we stay within the 2 degrees emissions ceiling budget set out by the world’s top scientists.”

ShareAction CEO Catherine Howarth said: "We would encourage institutional investors across Europe to consider this shareholder proposal carefully on its merits. There are strong reasons - both financial and environmental - for supporting it."

Climate Institute CEO John Connor, a director of AODP, said: "This Chevron initiative is just the first step on the road to limiting the risk of stranded assets in the fossil fuel industry.

“We are excited about the development of this new global citizen investor collaboration and we are pleased to support it."

The proxy memo can be downloaded here.

For more information
Oliver Wagg | AODP | | +44 (0) 7885 377264
Brett Abrams | SumOfUs | | +1 516-841-1105

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