Lobby groups in climate change spotlight
Investors need to ask questions of companies to ensure that their public positions on climate change aren’t being undercut by their membership of controversial European lobby groups, says responsible investment charity ShareAction.
Independent research by the Policy Studies Institute at the University of Westminster highlights instances where companies claiming to support strong action to prevent climate change are simultaneously members of lobbying groups taking a very different line.
The research focused on a number of lobbying groups including EuroMetaux, which has argued that taxpayers should compensate companies for loss of revenue related to proposed emissions reduction targets. Its active lobbying against climate change mitigation is at odds with the more progressive public stance of member companies such as Rio Tinto Alcan, and Anglo American.
Another lobbying group identified in the research is Cefic, the European Chemical Industry council, which has said more ambitious EU climate change targets should only be implemented in the event of a global climate deal. Their stance arguing for delayed action appears to be at odds with the more progressive climate change stances of member companies such as Veolia Environment S.A., BAYER, Unilever, and Johnson & Johnson.
Ben Fagan-Watson, lead author of the report and Research Fellow at PSI, commented: “Companies which are making strong commitments to deal with climate change need to ensure that their trade associations are singing from the same hymn sheet. The EU has been an international leader in taking policy measures to combat climate change. In the run-up to COP21 in Paris, this leadership should not be undermined by trade associations lobbying to protect narrow, short-term industrial interests at the expense of the EU economy and the global climate in the long term.”