Large Institutions Continue to Get Pressure To Disclose and Divest

Harvard Forward Students          Photo: Ryan N. Gajarawala, Harvard Crimson

Senator Elizabeth Warren continues to push for greater transparency in corporate reporting documents so that shareholders and the public can get meaningful information about climate risks facing companies. Similarly, large institutions are also being pressured by shareholders and stakeholders to divest from fossil fuels in order to lower their climate risks.  Last week, the Harvard Crimson reported that there is now a “sister” organization to Harvard Forward called YaleForward working to elect young alumni to Yale’s main governance boards in order to raise climate issues and divestment with university leadership.

Why This Matters:  The pressure is having an impact.  Harvard announced last week that its endowment would be “carbon neutral” by 2050 but does not go enough for climate-conscious students, faculty, and alums.  Other universities such as Georgetown and Brown have pledged to divest from fossil fuels in much shorter time frames.  Indeed, Senator Warren explains why climate change should matter to every large institution and corporation — “’the current value of direct private investor losses globally due to the physical risks of climate change is between $4.2 trillion and $13.8 trillion, depending on the warming scenario’ and that climate change may lead to ‘permanent damage that would far eclipse the scale of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.’”  Oh, and, Go Yale Forward!  Boola Boola!

Senator Warren’s Proposal

Senator Warren has sponsored legislation that would create a rigorous and standardized climate disclosure regime in order to ensure that public companies disclose their climate-related risks so investors can accurately assess them before buying or selling stock in that company.  All public companies would have to disclose, among other relevant information, their direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, assets related to fossil fuel that they own or manage, how the company’s financial valuations would be affected under various climate scenarios, and the company’s risk management strategies related to the physical and transition climate change risks.  The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently looking at changes to its corporate disclosure requirements — but it is unlikely that this Administration would require climate disclosures absent a legislative requirement.

Yale Forward

According to The Crimson, Yale’s Board of Trustees consists of  Yale’s president plus 16 trustees, and the goal of Yale Forward is to get 2015 alum Maggie Thomas elected to the Board.  Thomas said in a press release that she believes Yale University has the “potential to be a champion of light and truth” in fighting climate change and that her goal is “to work towards that future together.”  Specifically, she is campaigning on a platform of fossil fuel divestment, more robust processes for developing socially-responsible investment guidelines, and increased support for climate-focused research and education.” The campaign also calls for “the elimination of the five-year disenfranchisement rule for Yale College alumni—who are barred from voting in Corporation elections until they have held their degrees for more than five years—and for increased transparency around the operations of the Corporation.”

Up Next

US Green Diplomat Previews Glasgow

US Green Diplomat Previews Glasgow

By WW0 Staff For the United States, the post-Trump, pre-COP26 road to Glasgow has been paved with ambition and humility. In a major speech, the President’s Envoy, John Kerry, previewed the results of his climate diplomacy before heading into two weeks of intense deliberations of world leaders. Speaking at the London School of Economics — […]

Continue Reading 421 words
One Cool Thing: COP26 Coverage Kickoff

One Cool Thing: COP26 Coverage Kickoff

Next week, the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow will draw hundreds of world leaders to Glasgow to determine the path forward five years after the Paris Climate Agreement (for a primer, read this) as new science underscores the urgency. The conference aims to squeeze countries to strengthen the commitments they’ve made towards securing global net-zero […]

Continue Reading 194 words
DOD Says Climate Change Increases National Security Risks

DOD Says Climate Change Increases National Security Risks

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor In a report released last week, the Department of Defense (DOD) confirmed that existing risks and security challenges in the US are being made worse due to “increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Now, the Pentagon is […]

Continue Reading 440 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.