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“Come on ISS, Time to Step Up!” Say Investors Seeking Better Climate Guidance

Hey there, folks! So, get this: a bunch of big-shot investors in London – over 30 of ’em – reckon that this giant advisory firm, ISS, ain’t quite cutting the mustard when it comes to climate change advice. They reckon ISS is, well, dragging its feet a tad.

You see, this ISS crowd holds a lot of sway. They’re the go-to guys when companies want a heads-up on how to vote on the big stuff – be it making boardrooms a little more colorful or going all-in on this net-zero carbon emissions thing.

This group of investors, spearheaded by the IIGCC and featuring some heavy hitters like UBS, AXA, and even a Swedish pension fund (cool, right?), dropped a letter on Georgina Marshall’s desk. Who’s she, you ask? Only the Global Research bigwig at ISS! In their note, which somehow got into Reuters’ hands (cheeky!), they’re hankering for a shiny new “net-zero policy” come 2024. And they ain’t just talking the talk; they want these net-zero targets blended right into the voting recommendations.

Oh, and that’s not all! They’re also nudging ISS to beef up their main ‘Benchmark Policy’ – you know, the one everyone and their grandma uses? Yep, they reckon it’s high time to jazz that one up too.

Eddie Mason, a top dog at Generation Investment Management and IIGCC’s main man for Proxy Advisor stuff, spilled the beans to Reuters. Apparently, there’s a whole lotta “frustration” brewing. The dude’s like, “Emissions? Still soaring. Companies? Barely lifting a finger. Time? Slipping through our fingers!” He’s itching for things to change pronto, emphasizing just how crucial it is for these advisory bigwigs to incorporate climate standards.

An ISS spokesperson gave the ol’ “We got the letter, we’ll look into it” spiel, assuring everyone they’ll consider it during their annual policy revamp.

But here’s where things get juicy. These investors? They’ve got a four-point game plan they want ISS to tackle head-on: making board members answerable, nailing down company transition strategies, refining shareholder resolutions, and syncing up with this snazzy Climate Action 100+ benchmark that grades companies on their net-zero game.

But get this kicker: Mason reckons “soft criteria” meant that last year, ISS didn’t once suggest voting against big-shot emitters’ directors. Say what?! It seems this letter’s not just a polite nudge; it’s more of a “hurry up and get with the program” sorta deal.

Now, while ISS is the hot topic of the day, they ain’t the only ones in the hot seat. Apparently, the U.S. has a couple of other advisory giants, ISS and Glass Lewis, who’ve found themselves in a pickle. Earlier in the year, they had to defend their eco-friendly voting advice when some U.S. politicians raised an eyebrow, questioning if they were really serving their clients’ best interests.

Phew! Quite the whirlwind, huh? Let’s watch and see how this saga unfolds!

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