Today APG and two other asset managers announced that they have filed a climate resolution for Toyota. This is a ground-breaking step in terms of Toyota – as far as we are aware the first ever resolution – and also a climate-related one. It sends a clear signal not only to the company but also to the auto sector and industry bodies that more action needs to be taken in aligning lobbying and policy with the Paris goals and on improving sustainability disclosure.
The company has confirmed that the resolution will be added to the agenda of the annual general meeting which is scheduled to take place in June.
APG has been engaging with Toyota on behalf of its clients for some time, as have the other two co-filers, Danish pension fund AkademikerPension and Norwegian financial services company Storebrand Asset Management. In 2020/21, APG engaged intensively with companies in the auto sector, including Toyota, on the subject of a just transition to a low-carbon business model. One of the areas we sought improvement at Toyota was in the scaling up of investment in zero-emission, environmentally friendly vehicles.
Although the company once played a key role in the transition to environmentally friendly cars, it has in recent years lagged behind when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs) and in terms of lobbying and disclosure changes are few and progress is slow. Independent think tank InfluenceMap, which provides analyses on climate engagement for the investor-led Climate Action 100+, ranks Toyota as one of the most negative companies on climate lobbying. This proposal focuses on tackling just that; by requesting more disclosure on Toyota’s lobbying activities and how they reduce climate-change associated risks for the company, and on how they align with the Paris goals and Toyota’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Herman Slooijer, CIO at APG AM: “Toyota Motor Corp is Japan Inc. Since Toyota is the world’s largest car maker, accelerating the company’s EV transition is not only crucial for improving its business competitiveness, but also for giving a push to the decarbonization of the entire industry. Toyota plays a pivotal role in the Japanese automotive related industry, which leads the country’s manufacturing and economy. We therefore believe that Toyota leading engagement with industry associations, regulators, and its supply chains is critical for decarbonizing the Japanese economy as well as for sustainable economic growth and job creation in Japan. We encourage Toyota to enhance and increase transparency of its sustainability disclosures based on our suggestions – especially considering recent emission misrepresentation issues at some of its affiliates. This is important to restore investors’ confidence in Toyota’s carbon reduction commitment and strategy.”
You can read the full press release here.