Investors must step in

Big business slow tackle climate change issues

Big business slow tackle climate change issues

There has never been more campaigning to reduce carbon emissions yet progress from global companies to tackle the challenges of climate change is moving at a snail’s pace.

And so it is with a third of the 300 largest companies on the FTSE All World index – all of which are have a high impact on the climate, according to research from Eiris, the responsible investment research organisation.

The companies have made little progress since a year ago, so what to do? This is where investors can play a part by engaging with the companies they invest in to help improve their emission levels, strategies and levels of disclosure.

One of the ways of doing this is by voting on a particular resolution says Carlota Garcia-Manas, author of the report. For instance, investors with a stake in an energy company could vote on a move to set up more efficient methods of generation and distribution. Another effective approach would be to link remuneration to performance in tackling climate change. And that’s just to name two.

However there is some good news too ahead of a December meeting of world leaders in Copenhagen to discuss a global climate-change treaty. The survey shows signs of improvement in disclosing information on emissions, with nearly 20 per cent more companies doing this than a year ago.

It’s a start but there is a long road ahead for investors and companies alike.

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FTfm's specialist writing team offer their insights into the global fund management industry.

About the authors

Pauline Skypala has been editor of FTfm for four years having previously been deputy personal finance editor. She joined the FT in 1999 and has been writing on savings and investment issues throughout her career.

Steve Johnson, FTfm deputy editor, has been a journalist for 17 years, 10 of which have been with the FT.

Sophia Grene, reporter on FTfm, has been a financial journalist in print and online for 12 years.

Ruth Sullivan has worked as a financial/business journalist and foreign correspondent and for the past 10 years has been at the FT.