Investor LGIM cracks down on companies who fail to act against climate change

Josh Mines
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LGIM told firms it would take action against firms who failed to confront the risk posed to investments by climate change (Source: Getty)

The biggest asset manager in the UK has warned it will take strong action against firms who are not addressing the risks of climate change.

Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) said it would boot guilty firms out of its Future World index fund if they did not take environmental risk factors seriously.

If companies featured in its other equity funds, it also threatened to vote against re-electing chairs back to their boards.

The move is one of the biggest examples of an investor using its clout to accelerate progress on tackling climate change

LGIM named and shamed a number of offenders, saying it would vote against the chairs of China Construction Bank, Rosneft Oil, and Subaru.

It also said it would vote against Japan Post Holdings, Occidental Petroleum, Loblaw and Sysco.

The company praised Nestle for setting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, in line with the Paris agreement.

Since 2016, LGIM has assessed 84 of the world's largest companies on factors like whether they have a corporate statement that formally recognises the impact of climate change.

Meryam Omi, Head of Sustainability and Responsible Investment Strategy at LGIM said:

Climate change is a significant issue for society and investors, and we have a limited amount of time to act.

Our overriding goal is to help protect our clients’ investments. We engage with companies to positively influence their governance, strategy and transparency. Divestment is a consequence but it is not the aim. We want to show that the transition to a low-carbon economy is possible and work with companies towards this goal.

LGIM's statement comes as the government has tried to push asset managers and pension funds to be more proactive in dealing with the risk climate change can pose to investments.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Audit Committee urged the government to force large asset owners and companies to have to report on climate change risk to investors.

Back in 2015, Bank of England boss Mark Carney also warned that investors could face "potentially huge" losses from climate change. The pope has even thrown his hat into the ring of the climate change debate, as he urged oil companies to address global warming challenges.

Read more: MPs call for mandatory climate change risk reporting for asset owners

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