FT: US Companies are Ignoring Climate Change

Abandoned facility of defunct Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company.
Abandoned facility of defunct Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company. Youngstown, like many steel mills, was bankrupted by a combination of poor management decisions, high energy prices in the 70s and heavy handed federal intervention. By stu_spivack [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Shocking – its almost like company boards and many of their shareholders have decided climate change does not pose a threat to their operations.

Investors struggle to make US companies change tack on climate change 

Number of shareholder-backed environmental proposals tumbles

Chris Flood

Barely a dozen proposals on environmental issues put forward by shareholders reached a vote across 1,500 of the largest US companies, raising questions about institutional investors’ determination to push for meaningful corporate action on climate change.

The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a new stance in 2018 and began dismissing some environmental proposals as impermissible attempts by shareholders to intervene in company affairs.

Danielle Fugere, president and chief counsel at As You Sow, a shareholder campaign group, said the SEC’s shift had made the process of challenging companies more difficult.

“The SEC has introduced more uncertainty into the process with its dismissal of some motions on environmental issues as unsuitable attempts at ‘micromanagement’ of ordinary company business by shareholders,” said Ms Fugere.

“Questions need to be asked as to whether large institutional investors are acting in accordance with their fiduciary duties to clients or if they are continuing to provide support for companies that are contributing to environmentally damaging climate change,” said Ms Fugere.

Read more: https://www.ft.com/content/d0c4af5f-0004-3d0f-8238-e28be38a8327

Given the cost of pointless green virtue signalling, and the competitive disadvantage unnecessary costs can create, I’m comfortable that companies which reject climate action are taking their fiduciary duties very seriously.

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Mario Lento
October 7, 2019 10:33 pm

Things are at a tipping point for the Left –Yes I meant “tipping point”. The level of their extreme is peaking and is about to come crashing down.

Mark A Luhman
Reply to  Mario Lento
October 7, 2019 10:47 pm

We can only hope, that is so. I am not that optimistic.

Reply to  Mario Lento
October 7, 2019 10:57 pm

I thought they were just getting started.

mario lento
Reply to  Mario Lento
October 8, 2019 12:15 am

As I said when the housing bubble did not burst yet, in 2005… if it takes another year or two it will go down harder. I made a thought experiment with my wife who has been in the housing industry for over 3 decades. “Let’s sell our home now, pay it off and put 350K in the bank, rent for a year or two and buy a similar home back for less than we paid for it”. It came true 2 years later in 2007.

The further the Left goes, the more fodder Horowitz, Barr and Durham will have. It’s really going to happen. And we will rejoice over a 2 year long boomerang slog.

Reply to  mario lento
October 9, 2019 5:22 am

Or as we used to say in the media industry – In a strong wind even turkeys can fly

mario lento
Reply to  markopanama
October 9, 2019 9:35 am

The late great Ray Charles saw it too…

Flight Level
Reply to  Mario Lento
October 8, 2019 1:27 am

The environmental profiteering left ascends, gains altitude like an aircraft in updraft, uncontrollably.

However updrafts, even the most tenacious ones come to an end and what goes up must come down.

For those who went too high, way outside any reasonable envelope, the top of the ascent is where scary things, like tail panels overtaking the flying deck, start to happen.

mario lento
Reply to  Flight Level
October 8, 2019 8:28 am

Excellent… and throw in “without landing gear” somewhere in there!

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  Flight Level
October 8, 2019 9:14 am

Yes. Up like a rocket down like a stick comes to mind. Reckon it’s reaching hysterical altitudes now; but there appears to be a fair bit of momentum left.
Mentally frogmarchimg kids into the fray is a good indication of the levels these Eco Marxists are prepared to go, if they are worried.

Bryan A
Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
October 8, 2019 12:30 pm

Reaching apogenesys can be a biotch sometimes.

Reply to  Mario Lento
October 8, 2019 5:20 am

This whole thing with the Greenbeaners and ecohippies has turned into what used to be called a real potboiler. And now, the scum is rising to the top, to become very, very visible. But what do you do with the scum? You skim it off the liquid and toss it, because it’s useless overage and even the dog won’t eat it.

Are we passing the “sea change” stage yet, or is it still ahead? I got the impression that the “sea change” was underway and passing to the rear, little by little.

Lorne Newell
October 7, 2019 10:55 pm

I hope it doesn’t take to long. I grow weary.

James in Perth
October 7, 2019 10:58 pm

Youngstown Sheet and Tube. The city still struggles with industrial flight, but there are great people and great neighborhoods there.

oebele bruinsma
October 7, 2019 11:08 pm

It seems to me that companies in order to survive, have to deal with realities; man-made global warming is not one of them.

Rod Evans
October 7, 2019 11:44 pm

If something doesn’t exist or is beyond human capacity to influence, I think ignoring such, is the wise and proper, corporate decision to take.

October 8, 2019 12:04 am

But then if you google ‘climate change or ‘sustainability’ and the name of any non fossil fuel large US company you find they’ve already accepted climate change, renewables and a sustainable supply chain and are actively working on CO2 reduction and energy saving. Walmart, Pepsi, Johnson and Johnson… Diageo…

Reply to  griff
October 8, 2019 2:16 am

And you believe them?

This is merely virtue signalling by consumer goods companies. Any well-managed company seeks to reduce its energy bills. Climate change has nothing to do with it.

Reply to  Graemethecat
October 8, 2019 5:48 am

I work in the field of energy efficiency, generation, etc…

large corporations efforts in general can be put in two categories:

Actual energy savings: Implementing measures that reduce energy consumption whilst offering an attractive payback. A lot of which is improved building controls (turning stuff off or down when it isn’t needed), which is boring, and won’t get a company headline in media.

Virtue signal savings: Installing solar panels, fuel cells*, or signing long term contracts with “Green” energy producers. This rarely if ever (unless subsidized) makes any sense, but is done on a large scale now in order to get LEED credits. Or in the case of cities like NYC, it is mandated by law (Local Law 97.. look it up.. its a doozy).

* Fuel cell manufacturer Bloom Box has one hell of a sales team. I have seen them sell upper management types on their product, which makes zero sense in an engineering or financial perspective.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  griff
October 8, 2019 6:53 am

griff says:

and the name of any non fossil fuel large US company you find they’ve already accepted climate change, renewables and a sustainable supply chain

Devious, dishonest griff ……. has struck again.

DUH, ….. bout anyone will tell you they “accept” the use of something if they have need of said “something”.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
October 8, 2019 10:01 am

Uh, Samuel Cogar, you’re assuming that griff actually reads for content and context, when instead, griff only reads bits and bobs and pieces of stuff that agree with the Philosophy of the Griff.

Reply to  griff
October 8, 2019 7:33 am

Like most leftists, griff can’t tell the difference between virtue signaling and reality.

Reply to  griff
October 8, 2019 9:34 am

griff,, you know Walmart sued Tesla because their solar panels were starting first at their stores

Bryan A
Reply to  Latitude
October 8, 2019 2:30 pm
October 8, 2019 1:09 am

As the gas CO2 is still the key card in this whole
Climate Change mess , or fraud, then why doesn’t
President Trump as a matter of urgency instruct the
EPA to take the “”CO2 is a pollutant”” matter to the
Court ?


Snarling Dolphin
Reply to  Michael
October 8, 2019 6:17 am

Too soon. Next term. This would only inflame the ignorant opposition. As it stands, many won’t bother voting. Like AOC, they’ll be bored with it all come the election. But a direct attack on CO2 would appeal to their religious fervor.

October 8, 2019 1:13 am

Companies should simply state that they are in business to provide goods and services that people want, and customers are free to go elsewhere if they prefer to pay extra for Climate Incantations. They might lose some “woke” customers, but would probably gain more of the majority “unwoke”.

It sickens me when companies like BP pander to the green mob, just grow a pair and stick to providing oil and gas, which is what people want and need.

Richard S Courtney
Reply to  climanrecon
October 8, 2019 4:17 am


BP are scared witless by the possibility of another ‘Brent Spar’
see https://www.politico.eu/article/learning-the-lessons-of-brent-spar-saga/

They will do anything to avoid that.


R Taylor
Reply to  climanrecon
October 8, 2019 5:55 am

Pandering helps to make it extremely unlikely that BP will have to compete against a new refinery not owned by the oligopoly.

October 8, 2019 1:26 am

Since when is it a breach of fiduciary duty for an institutional investor to make money for its clients in a company that produces CO2 as part of its business operation. That’s fake law at its finest.

Ed Zuiderwijk
October 8, 2019 2:18 am

Danielle is just a silly gullible little girl.

October 8, 2019 2:59 am

US Companies are Ignoring Climate Change“. Best news I’ve heard since the last Australian federal election. But there’s still one more step needed … would those elected Australian politicians now please start ignoring climate change too.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
October 8, 2019 5:16 am

yeah, we dont HAVE many manufacturing companies worth a mention anymore downunder;-(
theyve offshored already or gone broke no cars no whitegoods and damned little else left shoes clothing material etc all gone.
any company waffling their green creds loses MY business asap
biggest problem is the getup avaaz and others targeting email campaigns and the fools in management rolling over for people who dont even use their products or own shares

Patrick MJD
Reply to  ozspeaksup
October 8, 2019 7:29 am

In Australia (And the UK) now, alarmists are talking about the emissions from resources we export and other countries use to make the goods we import should be counted too.

Ron Long
October 8, 2019 3:10 am

Shareholder companies from culturally advanced countries have some actual obligations toward their shareholders. For instance “maximize shareholder wealth”. Along with these obligations they have a series of future adaptive plans, like current year plans, 2 year plans, 5 year plans, and even 10 year plans. The weighting toward actual expenditure of shareholder funds is heavily in favor of current year, then second year, etc, such that the 10 year plan is more an exercise justifying a retreat at some resort for two days than anything else. If we have more than 12 years before doomsday, it doesn’t register. I am only mildly sarcastic in writing this, and I confess participating in these types of plans as a shareholder owned company President, CEO, and Director.

October 8, 2019 5:39 am

The virtue signaling hypocrisy by ecohippies and Greenbeaners and Warmunistas is more bothersome than anything else. They don’t want companies to exist if they produce goods that, in their view, are pollutants, but they use those goods themselves.

I just can’t get my head around this mind-numbing stupidity. As I understand it, denial of reality is a sign of mental illness, so how does one get them to understand that, by buying those products, they support the very things they detest and just add to the pollution problem? Aside from taking all those products away from them and giving them a taste of a true primitive life, what do you do?

Yeah, head bumping up against brick wall here and it isn’t my head.

Rick C PE
Reply to  Sara
October 8, 2019 6:20 am

It’s like suing the companies that produce and sell petroleum products and not the consumers who actually burn the stuff and produce the CO2. But I guess you can’t sue yourself and if you could, getting compensation would be tough.

Bruce Cobb
October 8, 2019 5:41 am

Yesterday, climate morons doused first the iconic Wall Street Bull, in fake, then a bit later they staged a “die-in”, again using the fake blood. This sort of nonsense will be going on for the next two weeks. Climate hysteria, now on steroids. We have now blasted past the Age of Stupid, right into the Age of Full Retard. Yes folks, we are now in the Retardocene.

October 8, 2019 7:32 am

Poor management decisions.
That would be the decision to buy labor peace by paying above market wages?

October 8, 2019 8:55 am

No evidence of progressive processes, other than political. The re-radiative effect is proving more effective in a laboratory than in the wild. The Earth is functioning well within her normal range.

michael hart
October 8, 2019 10:31 am

“The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a new stance in 2018 and began dismissing some environmental proposals as impermissible attempts by shareholders to intervene in company affairs.”

In a darkening world, that is one piece of good news that seems to have gone under reported. Most of the shareholders attempting such moves are certainly not investors in the normal meaning of the word.

Unfortunately, some of the CEOs of even the biggest oil companies give the impression that they are now cucked to the nines. Genuine investors need to bring such managements to heel.

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