Australias first climate change resolutions Media Release

Sep 21, 2010 - 1:00pm

 

Australia’s first climate change shareholder resolutions aimed at protecting shareholder returns against the risks of climate change and at maximising investment opportunities were announced today by Australian Ethical Investment and The Climate Institute.

Australian-listed Woodside Petroleum, Aquila Resources, Paladin Energy and Oil Search are the chosen companies for the first resolutions which focus on disclosure of emissions and strategies to manage climate change risk.

“The aim of Australia’s first climate change resolutions is to protect long-term investor returns by putting the spotlight firmly on the gaps in knowledge and preparedness of companies to manage the long-term risk of climate change,” said James Thier, Executive Director of Australian Ethical Investment.

“Even in the absence of a domestic price on carbon pollution, the impacts of the global move towards a low carbon economy are already being felt by Australian companies and their investors.

“The reality is that emissions intensive companies and major polluters that aren’t prepared for the rapidly emerging low pollution economy risk becoming uncompetitive.” 

The resolutions are sponsored by Australian Ethical Investment, on behalf its Climate Advocacy Fund and have the support of The Climate Institute. The key resolutions are to request disclosure of a company’s:

  • Carbon emissions
  • Strategies to reduce emissions
  • Capital investment assumptions around future carbon prices and its use in making long-term investment decisions

It is hoped that institutional investors such as superannuation funds will be supporters of the resolutions as they sit firmly within the UN Principles on Responsible Investment (UN PRI). Half the funds under management of Australian asset managers fall under these principles.

“This is an ideal opportunity for all those funds who are signatories to the Carbon Disclosure Project and the UN PRI to exercise their influence and support the resolutions,” said The Climate Institute’s Business Director Julian Poulter.

“Super funds, as major institutional investors, have the power, by backing these resolutions, to send a very strong signal to investee companies of the need to disclose their strategies to manage climate change risk.

“Many high emission companies invest their shareholders’ money into very long-term assets – up to 40 years in some cases. In the life of those assets an inevitable and significant high carbon price will make many of these investments marginal and companies should be pricing this into their investments now.

“The resolutions have been created to serve the interest of shareholders who need to ensure that the companies they invest in will survive and prosper in the rapidly emerging low carbon world.”

Watch Julian Poulter's video summary here.

Download the fact sheet here.

For further information: 

Harriet Binet  |  Communications Director, The Climate Institute  |   0402 588 384

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