Investor Campaign Targets Removal of Auditor Over Climate Accounting at Buildings Materials Giant CRH
Climate-focused investor engagement initiative Climate Action 100+ has added a campaign targeting the removal of the Audit Committee Chair and auditor at CRH, one of the world’s largest building materials companies, to its list of flagged resolutions, over the group’s claims of insufficient visibility provided by the company into its climate risks and transition plans.
Climate Action 100+ member Sarasin & Partners has pre-declared its votes for three audit resolutions ahead of CRH’s AGM later this month, voting against approval of the company’s financial statements, against the reappointment of the audit committee chair, and against the continuation of Deloitte Ireland LLP as auditor.
According to Natasha Landell-Mills, Partner and Head of Stewardship, Sarasin & Partners, said:
“Despite a long-standing engagement by investors, CRH’s accounts have failed to provide visibility on how its financial position would be impacted by the global transition onto a 1.5C pathway. Shareholders clearly need to understand how its assets, liabilities and profitability could be resilient to, for instance, rising carbon taxes, requirements to capture hard to abate emissions, or other likely policies that will drive the sector towards carbon neutrality.”
According to Landell-Mills, CRH’s financial statements fail to provide visibility into how material climate risks have been considered, how the company’s climate targets are integrated into the financial statements, and into the financial implications of a 1.5°C pathway for the company.
Climate Action 100+ is an initiative, with over 615 investors representing more than $65 trillion in assets, that targets the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to promote taking necessary action on climate change and align their business strategies with net zero in order to help limit average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
By flagging proposals at focus companies, the initiative aims to help build the vote for climate-related resolutions aligned with its goals. According to the initiative, in the 2021 AGM season, six of its 14 flagged proposals received majority votes.
Stephanie Pfeifer, IIGCC CEO and current vice-chair of the global Climate Action 100+ Steering Committee, said:
“The flagging of three CRH votes – the first-ever for net zero accounting related resolutions – puts the spotlight squarely on the company ahead of its AGM. While it is for individual investors to make the own voting decisions, this nonetheless sends a clear signal and could be a watershed moment in the campaign to hold Audit Committee Chairs and auditors to account.”