The SEC shift you didn’t notice – POLITICO

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The SEC shift you didn’t notice  POLITICO

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CLIMATE TSUNAMI – A flood of climate-related shareholder proposals are headed to a vote at some of the largest banks and insurers in the country.

A friendly nudge by the Securities and Exchange Commission late last year made it harder for corporations to block investors from casting ballots on environmental, social and governance issues. Now, we’re seeing the result – with key votes scheduled through May.

Proposals calling for an end to financing new fossil fuel projects are pending at Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley – all of which have signed on to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.unepfi.org/net-zero-banking/members/","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d10000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d10001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>signed on to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance. Chubb Ltd., the Travelers Cos., Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and the Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. – top property and casualty insurance firms – are facing similar requests.

The requests cite a landmark International Energy Agency report","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d10002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d10003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>a landmark International Energy Agency report that said a halt to new oil, gas or coal development is needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels – and avoid the worst effects of climate change.

David Lynn, the former chief counsel of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, said it’s “undeniable” that the new guidance had an impact.

“A lot of issues around sustainability, climate change, human capital management – those are issues that it’s very difficult for the staff at SEC to somehow say that’s not a significant social policy issue right now. And they’re not inclined to say that,” he said.

All the banks and insurers oppose the resolutions, arguing that they are already supporting a low-carbon economy through new investments in renewable energy and policies that restrict underwriting new coal plants and tar sands extraction, respectively. They contend that fossil fuels are needed during the transition and writing them off comes with enormous risks for the global economy.

That argument wasn’t enough to convince the SEC that the shareholder proposals shouldn’t be heard. Last month, the agency rejected attempts by Citigroup, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Chubb, Travelers and the Hartford to strike the requests from their proxy statements.

“There is a sense of urgency on climate change and a sympathetic ear in the White House,” said Heidi Welsh, executive director of the Sustainable Investments Institute, which tracks environmental, social and governance proposals. “Also, the big enchilada – the Build Back Better agenda – is dead. So what else is going to cause action in the private sector to address climate change?”

Two public pension funds are also weighing in. It’s the usual cast of characters, Lynn said, but they are big ones that wield influence: California and New York.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is supporting the climate-focused proposals at Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.calpers.ca.gov/page/investments/corporate-governance/proxy-voting/notable-proxy-votes","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d10004","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d10005","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>is supporting the climate-focused proposals at Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

Meanwhile in New York, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli didn’t just back the climate proposals at the country’s six largest banks. He’s launched a get-out-the-vote effort among other shareholders","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.sec.gov/edgar/browse/?CIK=810265","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d10006","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d10007","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>get-out-the-vote effort among other shareholders to get these proposals across the finish line. His spokesperson, Matthew Sweeney, says the state’s pension fund will also support the proposals at insurance companies. Catherine and Jordan have the story.

SHAREHOLDER ENGAGEMENT, PART 2 — Investor activists are taking their fossil fuel playbook and applying it to corporate water use and pollution. Environmental nonprofit Ceres has analyzed which industries are contributing most to water degradation (spoiler: it’s food, beverage and livestock production) and is hoping to convene a “large tent of investors” to engage with them. Read more from Hannah Northey at POLITICO’s E&E News","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.eenews.net/articles/ee-subscriber-climate-investing-activists-turn-spotlight-on-water-crises/","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d30000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d30001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>POLITICO’s E&E News.

PART 3 — Some added momentum on the side of engagement versus divestment: A bill in the California legislature to make the state’s pension funds divest from fossil fuel companies is facing headwinds after a key lawmaker said he would stay off today’s committee vote, citing “a negative effect on the retirement systems’ ability to engage with the energy companies.” POLITICO’s Colby Bermel has more","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2022/04/california-fossil-fuel-divestment-bill-in-peril-after-losing-key-lawmaker-00026140","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d30002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d30003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>has more.


GAME ON — Welcome to the Long Game, where we’re delivering the latest on efforts to shape our future. Tuesday through Friday, we’ve got data-driven storytelling, compelling interviews with industry and political leaders, and more news to keep you in the loop on sustainability.

Team Sustainability is editor Greg Mott","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://twitter.com/gwmott","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Greg Mott, deputy editor Debra Kahn","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://twitter.com/debra_kahn","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Debra Kahn, reporters Lorraine Woellert","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://twitter.com/Woellert","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50004","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50005","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Lorraine Woellert and Catherine Boudreau","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://twitter.com/ceboudreau","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50006","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50007","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Catherine Boudreau, and digital producer Jordan Wolman","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://twitter.com/jordanwolman","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50008","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50009","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Jordan Wolman. Reach them at gmott@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:gmott@politico.com","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d5000a","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d5000b","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected], dkahn@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:dkahn@politico.com","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d5000c","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d5000d","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected], lwoellert@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:lwoellert@politico.com","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d5000e","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d5000f","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected], cboudreau@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:cboudreau@politico.com","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50010","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50011","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected] and jwolman@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:jwolman@politico.com","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50012","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d50013","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected].

Want more? Don’t we all. Sign up for the Long Game","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.politico.com/newsletters/the-long-game","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d60000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d60001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Sign up for the Long Game. Four days a week and still free!


MINED OVER MATTER — It’s kind of weird how domestic mining is being cast as the hero policy that will fix both dependence on foreign imports and the need to build lots of electric vehicles. It’s still…mining, isn’t it?

To put a finer point on it, Indigenous activists are warning that the Biden administration’s push to extract more metals sought by manufacturers of zero-carbon energy products could degrade sacred sites and threaten groundwater drinking sources, as Jael Holzman and Scott Waldman report for POLITICO’s E&E News.

It’s an awkward look for an administration ostensibly committed to environmental justice for people of color. The majority of U.S. reserves for cobalt, lithium and nickel are located within 35 miles of Native American reservations, and environmental and iIndigenous groups have been pushing the administration since last fall to give communities more say in the permitting process.

“Joe Biden, you come live here for a year and drink the water, and then tell us you want more mining,” said Earl Hatley, a member of the Abenaki Nation of Missisqoi who also serves as chair of the Indigenous Caucus for the grassroots activists organization Western Mining Action Network. For years he fought for the cleanup of the Tar Creek Superfund site in Oklahoma, a stew of toxic waste created by a legacy of lead and zinc mining.

There are at least 50 different lithium mining projects in various development stages in Nevada alone. The one to watch is Lithium Americas Corp.’s Thacker Pass project, which just applied to the Energy Department last week for a government-backed loan to finance some of its activities at the mine. The company’s CEO says he expects to get through the application process in as little as four months. Meanwhile, the soonest the administration’s mining-reform working group will present its proposals is November. Read more from Jael and Scott here","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.eenews.net/articles/how-mining-for-clean-energy-could-undermine-bidens-ej-goals/","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d90000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85d90001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>more from Jael and Scott here.

A WAY FORWARD — New Mexico Democrats have found electoral success by boosting both renewable energy and fossil fuel extraction, write POLITICO’s Ben Lefebvre and Josh Siegel.

New Mexico’s all-of-the-above energy strategy has seen the state triple its renewable energy capacity since 2019 but also quietly become the second-largest oil producer in the country behind GOP stronghold Texas. Democrats, who dominate the state, acknowledge their budget’s dependence on extractive industries (which makes us wonder: Has Interior Secretary Deb Haaland weighed in publicly on her department’s mineral mining plans?)

What they’re not doing is claiming the renewables industry will be able to replace fossil fuel jobs one-for-one, as White House Climate Envoy John Kerry suggested last year. “John Kerry’s comment last year was just totally tone deaf,” said New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich (D). “[J]ust don’t promise those jobs to be something they’re not.”

Read more from Ben and Josh here.


— An exodus of staffers from a pioneering environmental law clinic is being partly driven by allegations of transphobia.

This deep dive into one congressional staffer’s role in breaking open theLove Canal scandal.

Disney’s cultural tightrope is getting increasingly narrow","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/17/business/disney-politics-florida.html","_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85dd0004","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-841f-d3ed-a197-bedf85dd0005","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>getting increasingly narrow thanks to Republicans’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Source: politico.com

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Hi there, I am Amanda and I work as an editor at impactinvesting.ai;  if you are interested in my services, please reach me at amanda.impactinvesting.ai

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