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H&M, Unilever Commit to Climate Change Disclosure as Matter of Fiduciary Duty

H&M, Unilever, Nestlé and several other leading companies and investors have committed to reporting climate change through the Climate Change Reporting Framework or other comparable frameworks as a matter of fiduciary duty, whether or not required by current regulation.

This represents an unprecedented collective commitment and a practical step capable of enabling positive change in economic and financial market activity at scale.

The companies and investors say they share a concern that financial markets do not yet take sufficient account of climate-related corporate performance, risks and opportunities relevant to future shareholder value because of a lack of comprehensive and comparable information in “mainstream” corporate reports for the investment community. This information gap undermines the efficiency by which markets are able to allocate capital to its most productive uses over the medium to long term — a crucial enabler of strong and sustainable economic growth.

Shareholders and plan beneficiaries have an inherent interest in the completeness and comparability of climate-related information available in annual and other mainstream corporate reports because the economic effects of climate change are tangible and have implications for the relative prospects of firms, industries and investment portfolios. The companies and investors are encouraging executive teams, board members and trustees of other companies and investors to consider joining them in this effort to improve the allocative efficiency of the financial system.

"Acting now on climate change is a must for all actors in society,” said Karl-Johan Persson, CEO, H&M. “Transparently reporting on climate-related information and finding new ideas for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, makes clear business sense.

More companies are beginning to view climate change as a risk that can be managed rather than uncertainty that is out of their control. For example, Coca-Cola, Nike, and others are factoring in climate change risks as threats to the bottom line. In June, CDP released a white paper containing fresh insights into how a price on carbon pollution might benefit companies and the U.S. economy as a whole. Contributors include American Electric Power (AEP) chairman Nick Akins, former Governor and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, along with investors, policy experts from Stanford and Columbia Universities, and other select thought leaders.