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Investor Climate Resolutions Climb Nearly 50% in 2010

Investors filed a record 101 climate and energy-related resolutions with 88 U.S. and Canadian companies so far in 2010, nearly 50 percent higher than last year, which indicates a growing concern about the risks and opportunities posed by climate change, according to a report from Ceres.

Since March, U.S. investor groups have filed six additional global warming shareholder resolutions with public corporations.

The Ceres report also shows that a record 51 resolutions were withdrawn after the companies agreed to climate change and energy-related commitments. Ceres cited several examples including a resolution with Ohio-based FirstEnergy that was withdrawn after the company committed to use dry coal ash storage, and a resolution with Procter & Gamble that was withdrawn after the company agreed to report on the percentage of sustainably sourced palm oil procured on an annual basis, beginning next year.

Sixteen of the 42 resolutions that have gone to vote at this year’s corporate annual meetings achieved 30 percent or greater support, nearly three times the number that achieved that level of support in 2009, says Ceres. Resolutions received an average voting support of 24.6 percent, up from 21.7 percent last year.

Two resolutions received majority votes including coal mining company Massey Energy and water infrastructure services company Layne Christensen. Fifty-three percent of Massey Energy shareholders voted in favor of a resolution calling for an adoption of quantitative goals for reducing GHG emissions, while 60.3 percent of Layne Christensen shareholders supported a resolution requesting the company to issue a report on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, including water management and its GHG emissions.

Other key resolutions include the first resolution on coal ash risks, filed by As You Sow, which received votes of 43.1 percent at CMS Energy and 40.5 percent at MDU Resources Group.

A coal ash resolution also was filed at Southern Company, by Green Century Capital Management, which was supported by both RiskMetrics and Proxy Governance, two major proxy advisory services.

TJX also agreed to release a full sustainability report by 2011, and establish a U.S. green team to improve the company’s sustainability performance.

This year’s climate resolutions were filed by state and city pension funds, foundations, and religious, labor and other institutional shareholders, managing more than $300 billion in assets, says Ceres. Click here for more details on the 2010 resolutions.

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