Investor groups wade into fight over trade association positions on climate change

In the wake of several prominent companies – including Apple Inc. Exelon Corp., Duke Energy, PG&E and PNM Resources – dropping their memberships in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the National Association of Manufacturers over differences with these trade associations’ positions on climate change legislation, a group of 43 social investment organizations and funds has waded into the controversy by sending a letter to 14 additional companies calling on them to take actions as well. The letter commends the companies for their public support of climate legislation, but expresses concern over the “glaring contradictions between the company’s position” and those of the trade associations.

The companies receiving the letter included Air Products & Chemicals, Alcoa, American Electric Power, Boeing Company, Caterpillar, Cummins, Deere & Co., DTE Energy, Entergy, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Lockheed Martin, Whirlpool, and Xerox. Among the social investment firms signing the letter are Green Century Capital Management, Walden Asset Management, Domini Social Investments, Pax World Management Corp., MMA Praxis Mutual Funds, Trillium Asset Management Corp. and Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge.

The letter suggests several actions that the companies could take to reconcile their public support for climate legislation with the opposition of their trade associations, including:

  • Resigning their memberships in the trade groups
  • Publicly declaring their opposition to the trade groups’ positions
  • Requesting trade groups to acknowledge on their website that the company does not support the trade group’s position on climate change
  • Disclosing the portion of payments to trade associations and other organizations used for political purposes
  • Requesting refunds for the portion of their trade association dues used to lobby on climate change issues

By Scott Fenn, ProxyGovernance


Climate Change Letter in Full >>

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