By Tom Metcalf, Bloomberg
The 10 largest fortunes with links to greenhouse gas emissions are valued at $537 billion. But while some on the list are digging in—the Koch family, for example, continues to fund politicians who resist climate change action—there are plenty of signs that the status quo is shifting, thanks in part to many of those on this very list. Volkswagen is targeting becoming carbon emission free by 2050, with planned investments and development costs in areas such as hybridization, electric cars and digitization expected to total roughly 60 billion euros between 2020 and 2024. Oil giant Lukoil saw the total amount of electricity it generated from renewable sources in 2018 increase by 30% compared to 2017, while its total investments in renewable sources in 2018 increased five-fold compared to a year earlier. Sustainability is a strategic priority for Fiat Chrysler, which expects to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25-30% between 2018 and 2024 across its four major regions. Buffett’s impact, too, is shifting. Read more here.
Photo Credit: Flickr / William Alden
Additional Recommended Reading
- Nebraska Peace Foundation’s 2017 Briefing
Briefing Warren Buffett on the Urgency of Climate Action at the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting. For the second consecutive year, the Nebraska Peace Foundation (NPF) submitted a proposal to Berkshire Hathaway for consideration at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. NPF’s 2016 proposal calling for an analysis of the risk climate change poses to BH’s insurance division elicited enough favorable response from Warren Buffett that the Foundation decided to now ask BH to divest of its fossil fuel holdings over 12 years.
- Climate Accountability Institute’s Carbon Majors rankings
- The University of Massachusetts’s Greenhouse 100 Polluters list
The nonprofit, CDP, is also referenced in the Bloomberg article. Read more about it and other organizations that provide climate action resources for individuals, groups and corporations, below:
As You Sow
Our mission is to promote environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. Our vision is a safe, just, and sustainable world in which protecting the environment and human rights is central to corporate decision making. Corporations are responsible for most of the pressing social and environmental problems we face today — we believe corporations must be a willing part of the solutions. We make that happen.
As You Sow has six Invest Your Values online tools, including Fossil Free Funds, which provide a searchable database for each value.
Resources on Climate Change
Billion Dollar Green Challenge
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge (The Challenge) encourages colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of one billion dollars in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements. Participating institutions will achieve reductions in operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions, while creating regenerating funds for future projects. In 2011, The Sustainable Endowments Institute launched The Challenge in collaboration with 16 partner organizations to help nonprofit institutions achieve sizable energy savings through the use of green revolving funds. Green Revolving Funds: A Guide to Implementation & Management
Formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, CDP is a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions. We believe that improving corporate awareness through measurement and disclosure is essential to the effective management of carbon and climate change risk. We request information on climate risks and low carbon opportunities from the world’s largest companies on behalf of over 525 institutional investor signatories with a combined US$96 trillion in assets.
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Through powerful networks and advocacy, Ceres tackles the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and inequitable workplaces. Our mission: Ceres is transforming the economy to build a sustainable future for people and the planet.
Initiatives include: Commit to Climate, We Are Still In, Climate Action 100+ and Clean Trillion
Global Initiative: Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk and Sustainability
Coalition for Green Capital
The Coalition for Green Capital’s mission is to drive greater clean energy investment into existing and new markets, in the United States and in developing countries with the goal of creating a 100% clean energy platform. To realize this opportunity, CGC incubates local clean energy finance organizations – often called Green Banks – and structures public, private and mission-driven capital for investment through those organizations. A large network of local clean energy finance organizations can access hard-to-reach projects, expand clean energy equity, and provide a scalable model for a thriving network for clean energy investment.
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Currently celebrating our 49th year, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility pioneered the use of shareholder advocacy to press companies on environmental, social, and governance issues. Our coalition of over 300 global institutional investors currently represents more than $500 billion in managed assets. Leveraging their equity ownership in some of the world’s largest and most powerful companies, ICCR members regularly engage management to identify and mitigate social and environmental risks resulting from corporate operations and policies. While ICCR members never shy away from making the moral case for action, our fundamental proposition as investors is that responsible and sustainable business practices – and a strong corporate culture of ethics – are in the long-term interest of both companies and investors.
Resources include: ESG Investing & Financial Performance Reports
The annual Proxy Preview report is the #1 resource for shareholders looking to align their values with their investments. Proxy Preview is a collaboration between three organizations: As You Sow, Sustainable Investment Institute, and Proxy Impact. Proxy Preview provides the most comprehensive data on hundreds of shareholder resolutions – including environmental, corporate political spending, human rights, diversity, sustainable governance issues, and much more. Shareholder resolutions are a key form of engagement for U.S. investors interested in changing the environmental and social impacts of companies. Register for a free account to view the 2019 Proxy Preview report and watch a webinar at the website link above.
Proxy Voting 101
Responsible Endowments Coalition
The Responsible Endowments Coalition works to build and unify the college and university-based responsible investment movement, both by educating and empowering a diverse network of individuals to act on their campuses, and by fostering a national network for collective action. We empower people to defend human rights and the environment while making both corporations and universities accountable to global stakeholders. Our goal is to foster social and environmental change by making responsible investment common practice amongst colleges and universities, and to support the next generation of activists for the endowment movement. Resources are available for: Students / Alumni / Committees, Administrators and Trustees.
Since 1993, Second Nature has worked with over 4,000 faculty and administrators at hundreds of colleges and universities to help make the principles of sustainability fundamental to every aspect of higher education. In late 2006, twelve visionary college and university presidents initiated the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). They were motivated by their conviction that higher education had the capacity and responsibility to lead on climate and sustainability action for the sake of their students and society.
See: The Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments
Additional Initiatives Include:
Carbon Offset Resources for Colleges and Universities
University Climate Change Coalition (UC3)
Sustainable Endowments Institute
The Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) conducts research, education, and outreach to advance resilient institutional responses to climate change. Initiatives Include:
- The Billion Dollar Green Challenge (See above).
- GRITS, an online platform designed to streamline the tracking and calculation of project-level energy, financial, and carbon savings data for all sustainability projects and efficiency improvements.
- The Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign: Since June of 2011, SEI has acted as a campus and endowment consultant for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, working with student groups and partner organizations to advocate for colleges and universities to divest their endowment funds from fossil fuel companies. For more information on the campaign, visit: Power Shift Network and GoFossilFree.org.
Morgan Stanley Institute For Sustainable Investing’s Study & Survey