Legal & General (L&G), Britain’s biggest asset manager, plans to increase the number of companies it assesses and engages with over climate change to help to accelerate global efforts to move to a low-carbon economy, it said in a statement.
Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), part of L&G, said it would increase the number of companies covered by its Climate Impact Pledge – a targeted engagement plan – to 1,000 from 100.
The group, which manages more than £1.2 trillion in assets, said it would also make its climate ratings for companies available on its website.
“We thought it was really important that our own engagement framework really addresses this challenge of decarbonising very, very rapidly in the next 30 years,” said Meryam Omi, LGIM’s head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy.
Under the original pledge introduced in 2016, LGIM committed to engage with the largest companies across six sectors in which action was seen as crucial to help to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
The Paris Agreement, signed in 2016, has a long-term goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C, recognising that this would substantially reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
According to the Paris Agreement, this should be done by reducing emissions as soon as possible, in order to “achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases” in the second half of the 21st century.
As part of its engagement with companies in the oil and gas, mining, electric utilities, automotive, food retail and financials sectors, LGIM said it would publish the names of the laggards, vote against their boards at the companies’ annual general meetings and potentially divest their shares from certain funds.
LGIM said it would also begin engagement with companies in the cement, steel, chemicals, technology and telecoms, apparel, property, transport and food sectors.
Of the newly targeted companies, the worst-performing 500 would receive a letter warning their annual report would be rejected at next year’s AGM if action was not taken.
For about 60 companies seen as pivotal to the transition to a low-carbon economy, the asset manager said it would develop a more in-depth assessment framework to better understand their strategy before engaging directly.