EXCLUSIVE Goldman Sachs pushes directors for more climate data

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BOSTON, March 24 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs' (GS.N) big asset-management arm will take a harder line in voting on directors at companies that do not disclose enough about their greenhouse gas emissions, an executive said on Thursday, adding to the pressure on business leaders to provide more climate-impact data.

Starting with annual meetings to be held this spring at companies worldwide, Goldman's $2.5 trillion asset management division will cast proxy votes against directors, often on the audit committee, who have oversight of emissions reporting and are not disclosing enough.

The information is needed by Goldman's own investment team, among others, said Catherine Winner, global head of stewardship at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, in an interview.

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"We want this so we don't have to rely on third-party data, which is often wrong," she said.

The new policy treats climate data similarly to the criteria Goldman set for boardroom diversity in December. Last year Goldman said it voted against 7,661 directors worldwide, or about 15% of the time.

Since 2020 Goldman has engaged with 271 companies making insufficient emissions disclosures, Winner said. Less than 100 of them have made no improvement, making directors vulnerable.

A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule unveiled Monday calls for more corporate emissions disclosures. read more The rule is not final however and would phase in through 2026.

"We're not going to wait for the SEC rule to kick in," Winner said.

Like other big banks, Goldman itself faces a shareholder resolution at its April 28 annual meeting seeking an end to new fossil fuel financing. read more Goldman has opposed the resolution, saying it would not cut emissions or demand for fossil fuels.

Winner said her division would tend not to support proposals that give management directions that are too specific.

"The complete stopping of financing of fossil fuels entirely, that’s something we believe is too prescriptive," she said.

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Reporting by Ross Kerber Editing by Marguerita Choy

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