February 15, 2020 / 11:31 AM / 14 days ago

AllianzGI pushes for more climate data ahead of AGM season

LONDON (Reuters) - German fund manager Allianz Global Investors is pushing every company it invests in to improve their climate-related disclosures ahead of the season for annual shareholder meetings.

General view of the "Mer de Glace", France's largest glacier which has shrunk dramatically in recent years in Chamonix, France February 13, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

Allianz GI, which manages 557 billion euros ($605.18 billion) as part of insurer Allianz (ALVG.DE), said it had updated its Global Corporate Governance Guidelines and would push companies to do more to manage what it said was a critical risk.

Specifically, it wants every company to use the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework for assessing the impact of climate risk on their business, an initiative kick-started by the Financial Stability Board.

Now with more than 1,000 signatories globally, the TCFD - championed by the United Nations’ incoming climate finance envoy, Mark Carney - is seen by many as a crucial tool in helping investors make more informed decisions on climate risk.

Eugenia Unanyants-Jackson, AllianzGI’s global head of research into environmental, social and governance-related issues, said she expects to see more shareholder resolutions linked to climate change in 2020, with a broadening out from energy companies to other sectors such as financial services.

British lender Barclays (BARC.L) last month became the first European bank to face the prospect of such a vote, in an action coordinated by responsible investment lobby group ShareAction, although pressure is building on peers globally.

“We will... show our support for proposals that seek to hold companies to account, through transparent information sharing, on climate related financial, physical, transition and regulatory risks and how the company is managing those risks.”

In a review of its voting practices in 2019, AllianzGI said it had voted on nearly 100,000 resolutions - from pay to board composition and strategy - at 9,532 company meetings and opposed 24% of all resolutions globally, unchanged on the prior year.

AllianzGI supported all of the climate-linked shareholder resolutions at its U.S. investee companies as they had all targeted companies for which climate was a material business risk, seeking information or the formulation of plans to align strategy with the Paris climate accord.

“Those kind of proposals are definitely in the interest of investors and are something we like, support and encourage,” Unanyants-Jackson said.

After 145 climate-linked resolutions were filed in the United States last year - including at leading oil company ExxonMobil (XOM.N) - the U.S. regulator is mulling plans to limit their future use in a move that has drawn the ire of some leading investors.

($1 = 0.9161 euros)

Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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