More shareholders vote yes on climate goals -study

* 16 of 42 climate-related proposals get 30 pct support

* Average proposal gets 24.6 pct “yes” votes in 2010-Ceres

BOSTON, July 7 (BestGrowthStock) – Proxy proposals intended to
encourage U.S. companies to reduce emissions and better
disclose their environmental footprints this year received a
higher percentage of shareholder support than ever, according
to a report by an activist U.S. investor group.

Of the 42 climate-related resolutions voted on at the 2010
shareholder meetings of U.S. public companies, 16 received 30
percent or more of the vote, compared with 6 of 28 that
received that level of support in 2009, a report by the Ceres
coalition of socially concerned investors, companies and public
interest groups.

On average, the resolutions received 24.6 percent of the
shareholder vote, up from 21.7 percent in 2009, Ceres said.

“If our portfolio companies are to provide long-term
shareowner value, they need to be proactive, not reactive, in
addressing climate change and other ESG (environmental, social
and governance) matters,” said Jack Ehnes, chief executive of
No. 2 U.S. pension system the California State Teachers
Retirement system, a Ceres member. “The excessive focus on
short-term profits at the expense of all else has proven
disastrous and has led to widespread financial issues.”

Investors argue that companies face rising costs due to
climate change, both directly from changes in weather and
indirectly through tighter regulations on emissions, and that
higher levels of disclosure are needed to help investors assess
the risks a company faces.

Two proposals received majority votes. Shareholders of
Layne Christensen Co (LAYN.O: ) voted by 60.3 percent to support
a measure asking the drilling and construction services company
to issue a report on its environmental, social and governance
practices.

At coal miner Massey Energy Co (MEE.N: ), 53.1 percent of
shareholders who voted yes or no cast their vote in support of
a resolution calling for the company to adopt quantitative
goals to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions

Ceres’ methodology includes only yes or no votes, excluding
abstentions. By Massey’s count — which includes abstentions —
just 36.8 percent of shareholders approved the resolution.

Massey is the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine in West
Virginia where an April 5 explosion killed 29 miners.

Boston-based Ceres also noted that 51 shareholder
resolutions were withdrawn after the companies agreed to
climate-change related commitments.

For instance, an activist investor group opted not to
submit a shareholder proposal to Procter & Gamble Co’s (PG.N: )
proxy after the world’s largest household products company
agreed to begin reporting on what percentage of palm oil it
buys is sustainably sourced.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Gary Hill)

More shareholders vote yes on climate goals -study