8th March 2023
ClientEarth and Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) have launched a new guide for Asia-focused investors considering shareholder resolutions as part of their engagement strategy on climate-related matters.
In “Net zero engagement in Asia: a guide to shareholder climate resolutions”, 11 leading corporate law experts across Asia provide analysis on the framework for shareholder climate resolutions in Japan, South Korea, India, the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Each jurisdiction’s expert also provides a brief summary of key developments relevant to climate risk and ESG in 2021-22 in that jurisdiction, to situate investor engagement within its appropriate local context. The experts’ insights contribute to the conversation on investor-corporate engagement and responsible stewardship in Asia.
The guide was launched during a recent online event co-hosted by AIGCC and ClientEarth. The event brought together key regulators, institutional investors and the convenors and contributors to the guide to discuss corporate engagement strategies for net zero transition in Asia.
Satoshi Ikeda, Chief Sustainable Finance Officer of Japan’s Financial Services Agency, delivered a keynote during the event. Rebecca Mikula-Wright, the CEO of AIGCC, also provided insights along with a panel of industry experts from HSBC Asset Management, APG Asset Management, Legal & General Investment Management and Skrine.
Rebecca Mikula-Wright, Chief Executive Officer, AIGCC said: “The investor guide is timely in view of growing global scrutiny of climate-related financial risks faced by corporations. Approaches in different jurisdictions will vary, but global momentum for engagement dialogue complemented with shareholder proposals on climate is increasing – and Asia is not immune to this trend.
“Investors have called for increased engagement with Asian corporates on the adoption of net zero transition strategies. Asian regulators are progressively encouraging the adoption and disclosure of Paris Agreement-aligned transition strategies, alongside a heightened focus on effective corporate engagement.”
Satoshi Ikeda, Chief Sustainable Finance Officer, Financial Services Agency, Government of Japan observed: “Transitioning to net zero involves the transformation of overall socio-economic system. Asset managers and asset owners need to play a huge role and active stewardship is therefore very important.
“This may also call for radical shifts in individual company’s business model. Disruptions caused by failure to address climate related risks in Asia will ripple through the global financial markets. Continued dialogue between institutional investors and companies are therefore very important and this guide may provide a useful basis for engagements.”
The increase in the number of climate-related shareholder resolutions in Asia is testament to the fact that key stakeholders are taking a keen interest in climate change and its impact on companies’ financial performance and continued ability to provide value to shareholders.
The guide is a practical reference for investors looking to understand the range of stewardship options at their disposal, as part of holistic engagement with companies in Asia.
We are grateful for the invaluable insights provided by 11 top corporate law experts on the legal landscape in key Asian jurisdictions. This contributes to ongoing discourse on investor-corporate engagement and responsible stewardship in Asia.
Elizabeth Wu, Legal Consultant, ClientEarth