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Investors with $4 trln assets aim to tackle Asian firms on climate change goals By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: U.S. Dollar bills are seen blowing near Seville, the Andalusian capital. Photo illustration from November 16, 2014. REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A group of six investors with a combined $4 trillion of assets under management, including Fidelity International, said on Wednesday it aims to step up engagement with big Asian companies like banks and energy producers to ensure they have a road map to meet climate change targets.

Initial engagement will focus on carbon risk and coal at banks and coal-exposed power companies, the group of investors, facilitated by Singapore-based advisor Asia Research & Engagement (ARE), said in a statement.

Investors are becoming increasingly active in the area of corporate, environmental and social governance (ESG). This will allow them to help shape climate commitments within their firms to manage this risk better for their clients. ESG-related actions they took include voting for board members and supporting activist shareholder resolutions.

A third of Royal Dutch Shell shareholders supported an activist group’s resolution at its annual shareholder meeting, which was rejected in May by the board. The resolution asked that the company set short- and long-term emissions reduction targets.

The six investors include BMO Global Asset Management EMEA, Fidelity International, Dutch pension fund PGGM, Britain-based Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), Aviva (LON:) Investors and Legal & General Investment Management.

“Over the past year we have seen encouraging developments in sustainability-related business practices and policies, such as a raft of net zero announcements,” Mirza Baig, global head of ESG investments at Aviva Investors, said in the statement.

He said that there was still an inextricable gap between the current situation and the requirements to meet the Paris Agreement’s climate goals. Asian companies have a tremendous opportunity to be leaders in the effort to address the climate crisis.

It has begun to engage with Chinese power companies Huaneng, Huadian and other firms. Huaneng, Huadian didn’t immediately reply to our requests for comment.

Banks will be encouraged to take concrete steps by the investor group, such as stopping funding fossil-fuel expansion or financing carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

Asian power utilities would be encouraged to create plans to align their operations with Paris Agreement targets.

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