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AP7 revises vote at National Grid after new climate lobbying commitment

Today AP7 has reversed its previous decision to vote against the Chair and CEO of National Grid, the UK and US energy company, at its upcoming AGM in July. The move follows the company’s public commitment to develop climate lobbying disclosure.  

AP7 and Church of England Pensions Board have been in dialogue with the company regarding lobbying disclosure since early 2023, with the specific aim of securing a commitment to disclosure. The dialogue builds on the long-term engagement within Climate Action 100+, where the Pensions Board is amongst the lead investors for National Grid. After failing to secure an agreement on lobbying disclosure in its dialogue, AP7 pre-declared via the PRI Resolution Database its intention to vote against the company’s Chair, Paula Rosput Reynolds, and Chief Executive Officer, John Pettigrew. National Grid has changed their decision and has now committed to develop climate lobbying disclosure.

– We welcome National Grid’s commitment to undertake regular lobbying reviews and we have revised our previous voting intentions as a result of the decision. AP7 will vote in support of both the Chair and CEO on 10th July. Corporate lobbying, directly and via trade associations, has historically been a powerful obstruction to legislative reform for an orderly low-carbon transition. That’s why companies need to have strong governance of their climate-related lobbying and to identify and act on any misalignment between their own goals and trade association lobbying, says Emma Henningsson, Manager active ownership AP7.

AP7 updated its voting policy this year to target core agenda items at a larger number of high emitting companies which do not demonstrate sufficient progress towards the climate transition. The scope includes companies which, despite investor engagement, fail in their due diligence of climate lobbying activities. The criterium has resulted in AP7 voting against board members and other core agenda items this year at companies such as Bunge, Colgate-Palmolive and Saint-Gobain.