US Firms Seek to Silence Shareholders on Climate

Retail giant Amazon and telecoms behemoth Comcast have submitted no-action requests to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), aimed at excluding climate-focused shareholder resolutions from their proxy statements. This move aims to prevent shareholders from assessing the degree to which carbon-intensive investments in the default investment options of the firms’ retirement plans contribute to greater beneficiary risk and reduced plan performance over time. The two resolutions, proposed by the non-profit foundation As You Sow, call for reports from both companies on how they are protecting employees from climate risk stemming from their retirement plan’s default investment options. High carbon investments increase climate-related systemic risk over time, increasing the likelihood that retirement portfolios will suffer diminishing returns, harming younger workers proportionally more than workers who will access retirement savings in the shorter term, As You Sow said in a statement. “Employees saving for their future continue to be denied the freedom to invest the way they want to invest,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow. “It’s a matter of personal freedom, and these companies are denying that freedom by offering default investment options filled with fossil fuels, deforestation, private prisons, and weapons companies.” 

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