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Campaign for Green US Pension Funds Ramps Up

US shareholder advocacy NGO As You Sow is challenging US-based companies to mitigate climate risks in their workplace pension plans, following changes to ERISA rules. Most recently, 8.8% of shareholders in food company Campbell supported a resolution calling for the firm to produce a report assessing how its retirement funds manage the growing systemic risks of climate change. Although Campbell has adopted climate-related commitments, such as reducing its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 42% by 2030, it is investing more than US$130 million of employee retirement savings into fossil fuel companies and agribusinesses involved in deforestation, As You Sow said. Although not achieving a majority, As You Sow’s resolution has reached the threshold required to continue engagement efforts and resubmit the same requests next year. A similar resolution has also been filed by investors at Microsoft, which will be voted on at its upcoming AGM on 13 December. Danielle Fugere, As You Sow’s President, said: “Employees want and need investment plans that reduce climate risk and impact. Now more than ever, employees want to save for retirement while leveraging their investor power to avoid climate destruction.” Last month, the Department of Labor issued a new rule which allows ERISA pension plans to incorporate ESG-related considerations into their investment and voting decisions, reversing Trump-era restrictions.

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