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May 28, 2011
National Association of Manufacturers Board Members Asked to Clarify Their Positions on Climate Change
    by Robert Kropp

A coalition of investors points out misalignment between the climate change positions of 43 corporations and that of the trade association on whose board they sit, and asks for clarification.

Citing the "misalignment" between "leadership on climate change and sustainability issues" of 43 major corporations and lobbying by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a coalition of 23 investors and investment organizations has written letters to the companies, urging them to explain their positions on the Board of Directors of the trade association.

The investor group, led by Calvert Investment Management and Walden Asset Management, represents over $200 billion in assets under management.

As the letters point out, NAM wrote to Congress in March, "seeking to strip the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) of any authority to address climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions." NAM's letter was submitted in support of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell's Energy Tax Prevention Act amendment, which "would have repealed the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions," according to the investors.

In a statement released at the time of its letter to Congress, NAM argued that "the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) overregulation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) on stationary sources will put high-paying manufacturing jobs at risk and prevent further economic recovery… EPA regulations will only discourage any long-term investments necessary to grow jobs and expedite economic recovery, placing America at a disadvantage in the global marketplace."

The investors disagreed, stating, "EPA regulations will result not only in cleaner air and decreased GHG emissions, but also cost savings for business."

"A growing number of investors are supporting EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions," the investors continued, citing a letter sent to Senate leaders in March by a coalition of 44 investors with $546 billion in assets under management. In that letter, the investors urged the Senators to "allow the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move forward with its greenhouse gas regulations and to oppose any constraints on EPA's authority to do so."

The investor letters to companies on the Board of NAM stated, "We feel that companies committed to representation on the NAM Board or Executive Committee should evaluate their role, assess the benefits of Board and Executive Committee membership, the risks of misalignment, and the interests of their shareholders."

The 43 companies that received the investor letter include Ernst & Young, Ford Motor, General Electric, Intel, and Toyota. In 2009, Duke Energy, a founding member of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), resigned from NAM, largely as a result of the trade association's lobbying against climate change legislation.


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