In an example of the power shareholder activism, Ford Motor Company has made public their plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their fleet of cars and trucks 30% by 2020.
Shareholders pushing for action include the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and the Investor Network on Climate Risk. Climate change resolutions from shareholders were withdrawn upon Ford’s agreement to outline their plan to address climate change.
Other automakers such as General Motors are also feeling the heat, as it were, from activist shareholders. The Big Three (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) are members of the US Climate Action Partnership and, along with other US companies, have agreed to cut carbon emissions 60–80% by 2050. Ford is also a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange.
To the automaker’s credit, Ford has reduced their GHG emissions from their facilities worldwide by 39% from 2000 to 2007.
John Viera, Ford’s director of of Sustainable Business Strategy, says “The CO2 reduction levels we have adopted represent our contribution toward meeting 450 part per million (ppm) to 550 ppm stabilization pathways.” Unfortunately, many feel that a target of 450 and especially 550 ppm simply isn’t good enough.
While Investor Network on Climate Risk director Mindy Lubber applauded Ford’s efforts, she cautions us not to “fool ourselves… Ford – as well as General Motors – need to do much more, and quickly, to reclaim their leadership role in the global marketplace. It’s not just a coincidence that these two corporate icons, once the embodiment of American innovation, are each worth less today in terms of their market capitalization, than First Solar, a nine-year-old solar company in Arizona.”
Nissan Motors has adopted a 40% reduction in GHG emissions from its vehicles by 2016 and 70% by 2050. Honda’s reduction goal is 10% by 2012.