Investors Also Ask Legg Mason to Account for Its Environmental and Social Impacts

BOSTON, MA – U.S. investors today announced that they have filed a record 54 global warming shareholder resolutions with dozens of U.S. companies, including financial firms Citi and Legg Mason, that face far-reaching business impacts from climate change. The resolutions are nearly double the number filed just two years ago.

Resolutions seeking greater disclosure from companies on their responses to climate change, including greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and renewable and energy efficiency strategies, were filed by some of the nation’s largest public pension funds, as well as labor, foundation, religious and other institutional investors.

Boston Common Asset Management filed a resolution with Citi requesting a moratorium on all financing, investments and further involvement in activities that support the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

The electric power industry accounts for more than a third of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. and faces growing regulatory momentum to reduce its CO2 emissions. Most of the industry’s emissions come from coal-fired power plants. The shareholder resolution also calls for a moratorium on financing the practice of “mountaintop removal” for extracting coal.

“While we commend Citi for its recent release of the collaboratively developed Carbon Principles, the proponents of the resolution are encouraging management to take more tangible steps towards a moratorium on coal financing,” said Dawn Wolfe of Boston Common Asset Management, which has $1 billion in assets under management.

“Specifically, we would like Citi to adopt a GHG reduction target for its lending activities, as Bank of America has done, and apply its existing policy on critical natural habitat destruction to the portion of any loan supportive of mountain top removal coal mining,” Wolfe continued.

The resolution with Citi was filed jointly by Boston Common Asset Management and Catholic Healthcare West and was co-filed by Pleroma, Inc.

Resolutions were also filed with four U.S. coal-producing companies, including Massey Energy, Arch, Consol Energy and Foundation Coal.

“Scientific consensus of the potential destructive impacts of climate change on the global economy is clearer than ever. Companies in every industry, especially energy sectors, should be acting now to assess and mitigate climate change risks,” said New York City Comptroller William Thompson Jr., whose office manages more than $100 billion in assets and filed the resolution with Massey Energy.

Legg Mason faces a resolution requesting a report to shareholders on “strategies to address the environmental and social impacts of Legg Mason’s business, including strategies to address climate change,” to be due within six months of its 2008 annual meeting.

This year’s filings come on the heels of a record high number of resolutions and record high voting support for global warming resolutions in the 2007 proxy season. Investors filed 43 resolutions with U.S. companies last year and average voting support was 21.6 percent. The shareholder filings are coordinated by the Ceres investor coalition and Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).

One or more resolutions are still pending with each of the following US companies:

  • Airline sector: Southwest (NYSE:LUV), US Airways (NYSE:LLC)
  • Auto sector: Ford Motor (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM)
  • Banking sector: *Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Legg Mason (NYSE:LM)
  • Building sector: Centex (NYSE:CTX), Pulte Homes (NYSE:PHM), Ryland (NYSE:RYL), Standard Pacific (NYSE:SPF)
  • Coal sector: *Arch (NYSE:ACI), CONSOL Energy (NYSE:CNX), Foundation Coal (NYSE:FCL), Massey Energy (NYSE:MEE)
  • Electric power sector: FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE), Southern Company (NYSE:SO), Dynegy (NYSE:DYN)
  • Forestry sector: International Paper (NYSE:IP), MeadWestvaco (NYSE:MWV), RR Donnelly (NYSE:RRD)
  • Manufacturing sector: Dover (NYSE:DOV)
  • Oil and gas sector: Chevron (NYSE:CVX), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), **OGE Energy (NYSE:OGE), **Oneok (NYSE:OKS), Williams (NYSE:WMB), Ultra Petroleum (NYSE:UPL)
  • Retail sector: Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Kroger (NYSE:KR), Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD)

* Resolution disallowed by SEC at company request.

** One of the two resolutions filed with the company was disallowed by SEC at the company’s request. The remaining resolution is still pending

Published On: March 6, 2008Categories: From the Commons