Report Shows How World's Top Capitalists Driving Humanity 'Head-On Into' Global Climate Emergency

A “striking” report published Monday by the U.K.-based charity ShareAction exposes how the largest U.S. asset managers are “overwhelmingly” stalling corporate efforts to tackle the climate crisis despite those companies’ public proclamations and the growing demands for bold action from people around the world.

ShareAction promotes “responsible investment.” According to the new report (pdf), the group’s “vision is a world where ordinary savers and institutional investors work together to ensure our communities and environment are safe and sustainable for all.”

As the report—entitled Voting Matters: Are Asset Managers Using Their Proxy Votes for Climate Action?—explains:

Voting Matters analyzes how 57 of the world’s largest asset managers have voted on 65 recent shareholder resolutions that covered topics including “climate-related disclosures, companies’ lobbying activities, and the setting of targets aligned with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.”

ShareAction researchers found that “U.S. asset managers are clear laggards in terms of proxy voting on climate, whilst European asset managers lead the way.” The top 10 worst performers overall are based in the United States; even the report’s highest ranked U.S. managers score lower than those in Europe and the rest of the world.

“These results are highly concerning,” Voting Matters says, “as the 20 largest U.S. fund managers control about 35% of global assets under management (AUM), more than double the 14% run by the top 20 European players.”

The worst performers overall are Capital Group, T. Rowe Price, Blackrock and J.P. Morgan—which are tied for third—Vanguard Asset Management, Fidelity Management and Research Co., Wellington Management International, Franklin Templeton, Northern Trust, State Street Global Advisors, and MetLife Investment Management.

“Six out of 10 of the worst performers have come out in support of the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and joined at least one investor engagement initiative on climate change,” the report notes, “yet fail to vote in favor of resolutions on climate-related disclosures.”

The report’s author, ShareAction campaign manager Jeanne Martin, said in a statement Monday that “you can’t boast climate-awareness in public and block climate goals in private.”