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Investors with $30 trillion to press 61 more companies on climate targets

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Investors with $30 trillion to press 61 more companies on climate targets

A large group of global investors and asset managers has added 61 companies to the list of corporations it will push to take more action on climate change issues.

When Climate Action 100+, which is backed by 289 investors with nearly $30 trillion in assets under management, launched in December 2017, it targeted the 100 energy and transportation companies that are among the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world.

The expanded list of companies represents both carbon intensive ones and those "with significant opportunities to accelerate the transition directly at the regional and global level and help achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement" of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, Stephanie Maier, director of responsible investment at HSBC Global Asset Management Ltd., a unit of HSBC Holdings PLC, said in a statement.

The five-year engagement initiative aims to convince companies to implement a strong framework for board oversight and accountability on climate change, reduce emissions, and disclose climate risks and plans consistent with the June 2017 recommendations of the Financial Stability Board's Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, or TCFD. The voluntary guidelines were intended to create an internationally consistent way for companies to assess and publicly disclose potential financial risks associated with climate change.

Organizers of Climate Action 100+ also announced that as of June, 18 companies on the original list now officially support or have committed to implement the TCFD's recommendation, a threefold increase since December 2017. Also, 22 companies on the list have set or committed to set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2030.

Climate Action 100+ was among a number of movements involving state and local officials, businesses and investors in the U.S. who committed to advancing the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change after President Donald Trump in 2017 pledged to withdraw the nation from the deal.

The North American-based companies added to the target list include major retail and airline companies, including Walmart Inc., American Airlines Group Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Co., Delta Air Lines Inc., Coca-Cola Co., and real-estate investment manager Weyerhaeuser Co. The effort now also includes more North American energy companies, including Devon Energy Corp., Dominion Energy Inc., Enbridge Inc., FirstEnergy Corp., Kinder Morgan Inc., NextEra Energy, NRG Energy Inc., Occidental Petroleum Corp., PPL Corp., AES Corp., TransCanada Corp., United Continental Holdings Inc., Vistra Energy Corp., WEC Energy Group Inc. and Xcel Energy Inc.

Some of the other companies on the list are China Steel Corp., German auto manufacturer Daimler AG, food corporation Danone, energy companies Iberdrola SA and National Grid PLC, and beauty product manufacturer Unilever PLC.

Climate Action 100+ is organized by five partner organizations: Ceres, Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and Principles for Responsible Investment.