Insights

Genus: Influencing U.S. climate policy

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moved to adopt a Clean Power Plan to significantly reduce carbon pollution from the power sector – the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States – some trade associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce quickly geared up to oppose it. The U.S. Chamber, which has a long history of persistently and aggressively challenging strong climate and pollution regulations, recently threatened to launch a legal dispute over the EPA’s new regulations.

The Chamber of Commerce isn’t speaking for all its members, however—some of them take climate change seriously and want to see a shift to cleaner energy.

Using shareholder engagement to support better climate regulations

Genus Capital has written to fifteen companies in its own portfolio that have themselves made strong commitments to address the risk of climate change, but are at the same time prominent members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As shareholders, we’re asking them to evaluate how trade associations, such as the U.S. Chamber, use their companies’ funds in their lobbying and advocacy on climate policy. We’re urging them to distance themselves from the Chamber’s advocacy on climate change, which includes clarifying publicly that the Chamber does not represent their views, as well as convincing the Chamber to refrain from suing the EPA, and refrain from challenging the new Clean Power Plan rules.

As members of the US Chamber, companies can ask it to accurately reflect its members’ views and take a more balanced position on climate change initiatives.

When a company adopts better oversight and management of how its funds are spent on political activity, that’s a sign of better risk management, better alignment of its actions with its values, and better stewardship of the company’s reputation. That will be better for investors.

When companies and their trade associations stop blocking good climate-friendly regulations that will be better for the planet.

 

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