Stockholm (NordSIP) – On 14 March 2022, a coalition of leading international investor groups officially unveiled a comprehensive Global Standard on Responsible Climate Lobbying. The standard has been long in the making. NordSIP has previously reported on Swedish public pension fund AP7’s efforts to champion a responsible corporate lobbying practice. Alongside BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPAM) and the Church of England Pensions Board (CEPB), AP7 has been spearheading the project to provide a framework for assessing both direct and indirect corporate lobbying in a relevant, systematic, and credible manner.
“Time must be called on negative climate lobbying,” comments Charlotta Dawidowski Sydstrand, Sustainability Strategist at AP7 (pictured), upon the launch of the new standard. “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 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,” she concludes.
The goal of the new standard is to ensure that all the lobbying efforts of companies, investors, and other stakeholders, whether delivered first-hand or through an intermediary such as a trade association, are directed towards activities that positively support the attainment of the Paris Goals. The 14-point agenda 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.
“We must ensure that we are all rowing in the same direction,” says Adam Kanzer, Head of Stewardship, Americas, at BNPAM. “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,” he adds.
All investors supporting the standard firmly commit to championing responsible lobbying activity. They also pledge to actively engage with companies whose lobbying practices do not align with the standard by filing shareholder resolutions, for instance.
The new standard has been developed in cooperation with Chronos Sustainability, InfluenceMap, and the London School of Economics. Other heavyweight names lining behind the new standard are the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (Europe) (IIGCC), Ceres, the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) and the Investor Group on Climate Change (Australia/New Zealand) (IGCC). More than 3 800 organisations and investors have joined the initiative.
“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,” says Clare Richards, Senior Engagement Manager at CEPB. “The time to demonstrate full application of the responsible climate lobbying standard as a matter of urgency is now,” concludes Richards.