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AODP blasts Mercer report on climate change as 'smokescreen'

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  • AODP blasts Mercer report on climate change as 'smokescreen'

GLOBAL – The report issued by various investor climate groups and Mercer earlier this week on investor progress in climate risk-management was nothing more than a "smokescreen" hiding the real barriers to better long-term investment, according to the independent Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP).

While the AODP conceded that the groups did provide some interesting best-practice insights, it said the report ran contrary to the more material information requests it made relating to the management of climate risk by the world's leading asset owners.

AODP chair John Hewson said: "It really is time the investment community stopped using these industry groups to avoid having to answer the material questions around climate change the beneficiaries are already asking.

"Members of these funds want to know their high carbon exposures, what the funds are doing to prevent investment portfolio damage once the carbon bubble bursts and whether or not their fund is more or less emissions-intensive than another."

AODP board member Sharan Burrow, whose organisation ITUC is preparing to add to member pressure on funds, added: "We simply don't have time to talk about fund policy and business processes anymore. We have to get to the heart of the problem – that workers' capital is still mostly blindly given to short-term fund managers who are neither interested nor incentivised to rebuild a more sustainable financial system.

"This smokescreen of transparency will not wash with either members or the genuine leaders in the industry, who are coming forward to be transparent and address the barriers to managing climate change."

AODP executive director Julian Poulter compared the investor group report with his organisation's work.

"This investor survey of 37 asset owners is a decline on last year's," he said.

"This year, the AODP will assess more than 400 funds publishing analysis from owners' survey results and publicly available data, and now members themselves are beginning to provide information to us from their funds thanks to the Vital Few platform."

The AODP's 2013 information request was issued in June and will report on the top 1,000 asset owners in December.

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