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ShareAction expands to take over the Asset Owners Disclosure Project

Responsible investment pressure group ShareAction has taken over the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP), which has worked to improve the management of climate risk investors have in their portfolios and to improve the level of disclosure about those risks.

For the past 10 years, the AODP has ranked the climate-related financial disclosures of the world’s largest pension funds, insurers, sovereign wealth funds and endowments,  and this work will be continued by ShareAction. The pressure group said that its programme to drive responsible practices into the heart of the global investment system had always been closely aligned with both the goals and methods of AODP.

Taking over the AODP is part of  ShareAction’s strategy to broaden its remit globally, and follows the launch in Berlin last June of the European Responsible Investment Network. ShareAction said that this global vantage point, leveraging AODP’s strong US and Australian presence, would enhance the group’s capacity to champion responsible investment at a time when more asset managers were realising the relevance of climate change risk to long-term value for the millions of citizen investors they serve.

Shareaction Asset Owners Disclosure Project

Catherine Howarth, ShareAction chief executive says it is excited to be taking over the work of the AODP

Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive of ShareAction, said: “ShareAction is hugely excited to be taking over the pioneering work of AODP at this key moment for global action on climate change. With many large investors already disclosing using the AODP framework, the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures have already, effectively, been adopted by market leaders. We now need the G20 members and associated institutions to drive disclosure in their own countries, and to move swiftly towards a globally consistent and mandatory disclosure platform.”

ShareAction said that institutional investors were responsible for managing and safeguarding the assets of billions of savers globally. Asset owners sit at the top of the capital food chain and have a long-term view of systemic risks like climate change that governments and other financial market participants struggle with. The actions of leading asset owners could steer the global economy into a safe and speedy low-carbon transition that will protect portfolios, people and economies. AODP has been a pioneer in putting the spotlight on investors’ management of climate risks and associated capital allocation decisions.

Julian Poulter, chief executive of AODP, said “The board of AODP are immensely proud of our achievements over the last decade and we are now delighted to be consolidating our work into ShareAction at a critical juncture for climate disclosure. The responsible investment movement has already shifted billions of dollars away from high carbon investments and changed investors’ and regulators’ perspective on climate change from the ideological or partisan to one of risk management and long-term benefit calculations.”

ShareAction that the most recent published AODP ranking in April showed positive signs that asset owners were beginning to act to address portfolio climate risks.

ShareAction’s Chair of Trustees is Emma Howard Boyd, formerly director of stewardship at Jupiter Asset Management, and now is chair of the Environment Agency as well as being involved in a range of other boards and committees relating to sustainability issues. ShareAction emerged out of the Ethics for USS campaign that successfully urged for the pension fund to adopt a responsible investment approach, and was originally known as FairPensions but changed its name as its activities broadened.

What do you think?