Swedish national pension fund AP7 and the Church of England Pensions Board (CEPB) have announced they are reversing their decisions to vote against the management of UK multinational energy firm National Grid, following the firm’s public commitment to develop climate-lobbying disclosure.
AP7 and CEPB – as the lead engager with the company as part of Climate Action 100+ – had originally announced their intentions to vote against the re-election of National Grid chair Paula Rosput Reynolds and chief executive officer John Pettigrew ahead of the UK firm’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Monday 10 July.
Emma Henningsson, manager of active ownership at AP7, said in a statement: “Corporate lobbying, directly and via trade associations, has historically been a powerful obstruction to legislative reform for an orderly low-carbon transition.”
Both AP7 and CEPB said they had been in talks with National Grid since early this year, and both would now be voting in favour of its management at the AGM.
Laura Hillis, director of climate and environment for the UK pension fund, said CEPB had been encouraged by the ongoing dialogue with the company.
“We welcome their commitment to greater transparency on the critical issue of corporate climate lobbying, which has historically been a barrier to achieving good policy outcomes on climate change,” she said.
The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) said the decision by the energy firm to review its corporate climate-lobbying activities showed the value of investor engagement and its ability to deliver positive results.
Peter Taylor, corporate programme director at IIGCC, said: “Not all corporate engagements that result in positive progress can or are communicated publicly, particularly where companies make concessions before a vote at an AGM, so it is important to highlight the successes where possible.”