Climate Action 100+ (CA100) is an investor-led initiative to combat climate change by influencing major greenhouse gas-emitting companies. The group’s membership includes major for-profit companies, investment funds, and nonprofits with a combined asset base of over $60 trillion. The investment funds and nonprofits have sizeable stakes in major companies and exert influence through their ownership to get the companies to promise to introduce long-term emission reduction strategies in line with the Paris Agreement.
CA100 was conceived by members of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) in 2016 at the French Mission to the United Nations. The initiative was formally launched in December 2017. 1
Climate Action 100+ consists of 617 organizations with $60 trillion in assets. 167 members are for-profit “focus companies” which account for 80% of corporate industrial greenhouse gas emissions, including BP, General Electric, and Raytheon. The rest of the members are a mixture of investment funds and non-profits, including universities like Amherst College and Harvard University. 2 3
CA100’s operations are overseen by five investor groups: Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which is supported by the United Nations. 4
“Business Case” for Fighting Climate Change
Climate Action 100+ claims to make the “business case” for for-profit companies to reduce carbon emissions. The group grounds its claims based on the positions of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which claims that the earth will face $23 trillion in economic losses due to climate change over the next 80 years. These losses will be incurred both through “physical” means like floods and increased need for air conditioning, and “transitional” means like restructuring gasoline-based car manufacturers to electric engines. CA100 also cites a study which claims that climate change risks to the economy are “unhedgeable” for individual companies. Thus CA100 encourages major companies, particularly large greenhouse gas emitters, to limit their emissions for their own financial benefits. 5
Climate Action 100+ seeks to combat climate change by encouraging major greenhouse gas-emitting corporations to restrict emissions. CA100 has “three asks” for companies: implement a governance framework for enforcing climate change objectives, enhance public disclosures on greenhouse emissions, and commit to an internationally coordinated effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. 6
In its 2020 report, CA100 reported that 43% of the companies it has engaged with have introduced long-term plans to restrict greenhouse emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, while 51% have short-term reduction goals. Only 10% of companies have net-zero emissions targets. However, targeted companies commissioned 194 new oil and gas projects that fall outside the bounds of the Paris Agreement. 7
In January 2020, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, joined Climate Action 100+. The move came after repeated public criticisms against BlackRock for failing to address climate change. In 2019, Ceres (one of the five investor groups leading CA100) ranked BlackRock 43 out of 48 in “green investment” among major asset managers. 8
After BlackRock joined CA100, Vanguard, the second-largest asset manager in the world, was asked by numerous media outlets if it would join as well. Vanguard spokesmen stated that the company had no plans to join CA100. 9
Majority Action and Chevron
In May 2021, activist group Majority Action called for the resignation of Chevron CEO Michael Wirth and lead director Ronald Sugar due to failures to abide by promises to reduce greenhouse emissions. A key piece of evidence cited by Majority Action was Climate Action 100+’s report on Chevron, which found that the company had not kept any of the 10 promises it made, including the formation of any decarbonization strategy or emissions reduction goal. 10
- “How We Got Here.” ClimateAction 100+. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.climateaction100.org/approach/how-we-got-here/.
- “Investor Signatories.” Climate Action 100+. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.climateaction100.org/whos-involved/investors/.
- “Companies.” Climate Action 100+. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.climateaction100.org/whos-involved/companies/.
- “Investor Networks.” Climate Action 100+. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.climateaction100.org/whos-involved/investor-networks/.
- “The Business Case.” Climate Action 100+. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.climateaction100.org/business-case/.
- “The Three Asks.” Climate Action 100+. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.climateaction100.org/approach/the-three-asks/.
- “Climate Action 100+ Progress Report Records Accelerated Company Commitments To Net-Zero Emissions But Gaps Remain.” Climate Action 100+. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.climateaction100.org/news/climate-action-100-progress-report-records-accelerated-company-commitments-to-net-zero-emissions-but-gaps-remain/.
- Hill, Toby. “BlackRock goes green? Investment giant joins Climate Action 100+ amid controversy.” GreenBiz. January 13, 2020. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.greenbiz.com/article/blackrock-goes-green-investment-giant-joins-climate-action-100-amid-controversy.
- Jolly, Jasper; Greenfield, Patrick. “Vanguard refuses to sign up to crisis commitment.” The Guardian. January 13, 2020. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.offshore-energy.biz/advocacy-firm-calls-for-ousting-of-chevron-ceo-lead-director-over-climate-change-policies/.
- Lepic, Bojan. “Advocacy firm calls for ousting of Chevron CEO, lead director over climate change policies.” Offshore Energy. May 7, 2021. Accessed December 7, 2021. https://www.offshore-energy.biz/advocacy-firm-calls-for-ousting-of-chevron-ceo-lead-director-over-climate-change-policies/.