Investors are being put at risk by FTSE 100 companies’ continued support of climate-sceptic lobby groups, contrary to an often public endorsement of climate action. 

UK NGO ShareAction said that trade associations were largely used to lobbty on matters of climate policy, but argued that the largely undisclosed lobbying could put companies and investors at risk, it said.

“Investors therefore need to take a strong stance on pushing for transparency and action,” it said in a briefing note analysing the risks of membership of “obstructive” EU trade associations to companies and their investors.

The group said its recommendations were based on research by the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) at the University of Westminster, which it said had recently highlighted how several major EU trade associations have actively lobbied against climate change mitigation

“Many publicly owned companies are paying members of these trade associations, which seems at odds with their public calls for a strong international policy framework to combat climate change,” ShareAction said.

There was a need for greater transparency on the alignment of companies’ climate positions with those of the trade associations they supported, the group said. 

“Greater disclosure will allow investors to determine whether the lobbying being undertaken on behalf of companies is in the best interests of the company and its investors,” it said.

On Friday, oil company Shell announced it would not renew its membership of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – a trade association known for taking climate-sceptic positions. 

Shell said it was leaving ALEC because of the association’s stance on climate change.

In June, Swedish pensions buffer fund AP2 and the pension funds for the London borough of Enfield and staff of UK union UNISON were among 19 institutional investors urging Shell in a letter to leave several US and European industry groups argued to be hampering the move to a low-carbon economy.