Carbon producing companies will need to fully disclose their carbon footprint to avoid being named and shamed under Australia’s first climate change shareholder resolutions.
The resolutions will target the annual meetings of companies who have failed to appropriately disclose their carbon emissions footprint and provide details on how they are managing climate change risks.
West Australian-based companies, Paladin Energy, Aquila Resources and Woodside Petroleum, are among those chosen for the first resolutions.
The actions proposed by the Climate Advocacy Fund shareholder group who are a joint initiative of the Climate Institute and Australian Ethical Investment, will call for transparency and disclosure improvements on carbon profiles.
The initiative represents a shift in ethical investment practices and challenges companies to disclose the impact of their carbon intensive operations.
AEI spokesperson James Thier said the resolutions were the first step to changing the mindset of Australian companies to bring about a broader change in the investment community.
“The recent government discussions on a proposed carbon tax highlight climate change as a significant financial risk for carbon intensive operations,” he said.
“Investors have a right to be aware of how these risks are managed and what their potential impacts will be.”
Mr Thier said resolutions of this nature increased the importance of investors who wanted to understand the financial impacts of climate change risks.
“These resolutions are a movement away from the notion of the flow of capital, to the notion of influencing companies through the Corporations Act and boardrooms,” he said.
Australian Shareholders Association chief executive Stuart Wilson said this was now a very real financial risk for companies with high carbon emissions and investors needed to be aware of any impacts.
“The direction in which the community is moving indicates growing concern about carbon impacts and its cost,” he said.
“It is important for companies to have a good disclosure regime as to how carbon impacts will affect a company and how it is seeking to minimise these impacts.”
Calls for the federal government to act on the implementation of a carbon tax and socially responsible investing means there will be more investors refusing to invest in companies who fail to take the issue seriously.
A Woodside spokeswoman said the Perth-based company had participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project since 2006 and had nothing to hide.
“Woodside considers current and anticipated regulatory risks related to climate change as material to its business,” she said.
“The company discloses information related to its management of carbon emissions annually through its Sustainable Development report and has been a key contributor to the development of climate change policy in Australia.”
Published in the Western Independent October 2010