It is an Anglo-Saxon practice that is becoming more and more widespread in French public associations. The listed companies are now asking their shareholders to comment, in an advisory capacity, on their climate strategy. A way to respond to investors’ demand for environmental transparency.
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In Anglo-Saxon terminology, this practice is called “saying on the climate”. It’s inspired by Saying On Salary, which allows shareholders to vote on bonuses for company directors. The latter gradually spread in France, until it was imposed by the legislator in 2016.
Ten resolutions in 2022
This year, ten climate advisory decisions are on the agenda of French companies, compared to just three last year. 2021 was marked by high levels of approval (98% in Vinci, 97% in Atos, 91% in Total) by shareholders. But some investors are now calling to vote against or abstain from climate plans that have proven inadequate.
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In London, Royal London Asset Management (RLAM)And The British asset manager has already indicated that he will abstain from voting on the plan presented by oil and gas giant Shell, which will be put to a vote on May 24. “Shell’s climate plan relies heavily on compensation and divestment, The fund is justified in a press release. We would prefer the company to halt all exploration imminently, in line with recent reports from the International Energy Agency and the IPCC. »
The highly influential investment advisory firms are also beginning to take a tougher stance. “L”Last year we wanted to reward the progress some companies had made and gave positive vote instructions on Say On Climate, Loïc Dessaint, managing director of France’s Proxinvest, explains. this year, We have developed a voting methodology based on a series of the most accurate criteria. »
Among other things, the company verifies that the sponsor company has adopted a climate strategy based on scientific criteria. In particular, it is based on the “Science-Based Targets” initiative, developed by several NGOs, which outlines climate pathways for companies. This year, of the 29 climate decisions submitted by listed companies in Europe, Proxinvest gave only 15 voting instructions in favour, against 14 against.
In order to prevent shareholders from encouraging the principle rather than the substance of corporate decisions, some investors are calling for a legal obligation to put them on the agenda, such as those who meet at the Forum for Responsible Investment.
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