New Global Standard on Responsible Climate Lobbying: Calls on companies to align with Paris 1.5⁰C Goal

LAUNCH PRESS RELEASE: 14 March 2022

  • Leading international investor groups unveil new Global Standard on Responsible Climate Lobbying which provides a framework to ensure companies’ lobbying and political engagement activities are in line with the goal of restricting global temperature rise to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels.
  • The 14-point Standard calls on companies to make formal commitments to responsible climate lobbying, to disclose the funding and other support they provide to all trade associations involved in climate change-related lobbying and to take action if lobbying activity undertaken by them, or their trade associations, runs counter to the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Investors supporting the Standard commit to championing responsible lobbying activity, while engaging – potentially including the filing of shareholder resolutions – with those companies whose lobbying practices do not align with the Standard.

Time must be called on negative climate lobbying. Investors will no longer tolerate a glaring gap between a company’s words and their actions on climate. As active owners we are committed to engaging collectively and individually with companies globally to highlight and improve their climate lobbying accountability and performance and to escalate this stewardship where required. We will convey this expectation to the companies in which we invest and signal this commitment through our own actions.

Charlotta Dawidowski Sydstrand, Sustainability Strategist, AP7 pension fund

The private sector needs government support to fulfil the high ambitions of the Paris Agreement. Therefore, public policy must be a key pillar of any major company’s climate strategy, and be well governed and appropriately disclosed. Most importantly, it should be aligned with the IPCC’s recommendations for avoiding catastrophe. The Global Standard on Responsible Climate Lobbying contains 14 key elements for use in constructing and assessing these programs. Some of these standards will represent relatively new ideas for companies, such as the use of an external standard – the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement – to guide corporate lobbying. We’re also asking companies to work to address misaligned policy positions taken by their trade associations, which otherwise puts companies in the awkward position of financing both sides of the issue. We must ensure that we are all rowing in the same direction. Corporate lobbying that is misaligned with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement is not simply a waste of corporate assets, it is a common threat to our future.”

Adam Kanzer, Head of Stewardship, Americas, BNP Paribas Asset Management

Corporate lobbying can significantly influence public climate policy. We want the standard to set a high bar for companies, and to encourage a move away from ‘negative lobbying’ towards actively engaging in ‘responsible lobbying’ through supporting policies aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The expectation for companies to advocate responsibly on climate policy is not new. The time to demonstrate full application of the responsible climate lobbying standard as a matter of urgency is now.

Clare Richards, Senior Engagement Manager, Church of England Pensions Board

With so many investors urgently seeking to decrease their exposure to climate risk they need to know if a company is using its influence behind closed doors, through trade associations or climate skeptic think tanks, to oppose policy measures that would support the delivery of a net-zero economy. Investors want to see responsible corporate lobbying which has the potential to unlock public policy frameworks which can direct the flow of capital for a stable energy transition. We support this Standard because it provides a common framework by which the market can judge, compare, and encourage responsible corporate lobbying.” 

Morgan LaManna, Director, Investor Engagements, Ceres

Corporate lobbying for climate action can quietly but effectively influence real change across Asia. Climate lobbying by corporates in our region operates under very specific and nuanced local market structures, and in some parts of Asia it is just starting to grow. So, this responsible lobbying framework will be crucial as more investors seek to understand their exposure to climate risk, and how the companies in their portfolios are positioned on climate issues.“

Valerie Kwan, Director, Engagements, Asian Investor Group on Climate Change

The Global Standard is extremely timely. Corporate political engagement continues to represent one of the key barriers to delivering the Paris Agreement’s goals. At the same time, we are seeing accelerating shareholder willingness to take action against companies holding back the regulatory response deemed essential by the international scientific community. InfluenceMap is excited to continue working with investors and companies, providing real-world analysis on how the corporate sector is performing against the Global Standard via our LobbyMap platform.”

Ed Collins, Director, Corporate Lobbying, InfluenceMap

Corporate lobbying on climate policy is a significant issue in Australia, which is highly exposed to transition and physical risks from climate change, and expected to impact investment returns. Fossil fuel lobbying in particular, continues to hold back climate policy that would build a stronger, more resilient Australia and help protect the retirement savings of millions of Australians. This framework will help investors hold accountable the companies they invest in, who are fundamentally responsible for ensuring their industry associations and internal lobbying aligns with preventing dangerous global warming.”

Laura Hillis, Director of Corporate Engagement, Investor Group on Climate Change

For too long corporate lobbying activities have either been shrouded in opacity or run simply and overtly in contrary to the goals of the Paris Agreement. While the ambition is for all companies to adhere to the new standard, it is particularly pertinent for companies that claim to support a net zero pathway while simultaneously pursuing lobbying activity that runs counter to this. The new Global Standard will be a vital tool for investors to use in calling out and mitigating irresponsible climate lobbying through corporate engagement and good stewardship.” 

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change

Robust climate policies are vital, desperately urgent, and the most effective way to transition our economies to a zero-carbon future, protecting investors’ returns in the process. Yet progress in establishing and enforcing effective climate policy is often eroded by organisations and groups which, through their lobbying and other forms of political engagement, seek to delay, weaken, or politicise climate policy. We welcome the release of the Global Standard today, which builds on existing and prior investor initiatives, including Climate Action 100+. The Standard provides a key resource to investors to assess whether companies in their portfolio, and they themselves as investors, are acting in support of climate goals in all areas of their political influence.”

Paul Chandler, Director of Stewardship, Principles for Responsible Investment

We expect all economic actors to use their influence to support the efficient design and prompt delivery of an orderly and just transition to a net zero economy by 2050. That includes public policy in Canada and elsewhere, and ambitious interim targets from issuers.

Sarah Couturier-Tanoh, Manager Corporate Sector & Shareholder Engagement, SHARE