Toyota shareholders rejected a resolution co-filed by APG, urging greater disclosure of its climate lobbying, on Wednesday. Still, APG and co-filers AdademikerPension and Storebrand Asset Management welcome the support the proposal received from asset managers around the globe.
We are glad to see so many investors supporting our resolution on disclosure of Toyota’s lobbying activities. The high backing (15%) should serve as a clear wake up call for the company to focus on being competitive in the transition to the net zero society instead of trying to water down important climate legislation, including phasing out internal combustion engines. Given the two-thirds requirement we are not surprised that the proposal was not passed, and we note that many institutional investors pre-declared in public the support for the resolution.
The aim of this proposal is to protect long term shareholder value and mitigate reputational risk, not only to successfully deliver on the Net Zero commitment, but also for the long-term sustainability of the business. We will continue to engage actively and support Toyota.
The proposing shareholders recognize the centrality of ambitious climate policy and responsible corporate climate lobbying to limiting global warming to 1.5⁰C, in line with the Paris Agreement. We recognize that corporate lobbying directly and through organizations such as trade associations has frequently opposed policy measures that would support the goal of delivering net-zero emissions by 2050. Equally, we recognize that responsible corporate lobbying has the potential to unlock action on climate transition initiatives.
This proposal focused on protecting and enhancing the long-term shareholder value and was a response to a clear financial risk associated with Toyota’s lagging transition, negative climate lobbying and reputational risk.
Toyota has demonstrated leadership on climate change in a number of important areas. However, despite improved transparency, the company has also continued to lobby against climate-related regulation and policies in several countries, according to independent think tank InfluenceMap.
After more than two years of intense investor engagement with Toyota, it has unfortunately not been possible to reach common ground with the company on its lobbying activities. Hence, we submitted the shareholder proposal urging Toyota to improve disclosures of its lobbying activities and demonstrate further industry leadership in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement.
We are investors concerned with long-term shareholder value and leading up to this annual general assembly we have seen many other Toyota shareholders having the same concern support the proposal. We believe it is in the company’s best interest to be open and transparent on its lobbying activities as it will enhance Toyota’s market value, and we will continue to engage actively and support Toyota in this journey.
Please also see the full statement.