ONEOK Vote Supports CalSTRS Call for Climate Risk Reporting
Proxy votes show growing support for reporting on greenhouse gas emissions.
SACRAMENTO, CA – ONEOK Shareholders solidly supported a California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) call for the Tulsa-based gas pipeline company to report on greenhouse gas emissions.
Despite ONEOK (NYSE: OKE) management’s opposition, 33 percent of shareholders supported Proposal #8 as reported at the company’s May 15, 2008 annual meeting.
Since 2004, shareholder support for greenhouse gas reporting proposals has averaged about 17 percent, according to proxy advisors, RiskMetrics Group.
“This level of support underscores the growing importance that environmental performance is playing on corporate bottom lines,” said CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes. “Taking heed of this reality by reporting on greenhouse gas emissions is good for business and good for the planet. As a long-term shareowner, CalSTRS wants to see ONEOK succeed and one way to achieve that is to address climate risks, which are increasingly impacting companies’ prospects for continued profitability.”
CalSTRS, one of approximately 105,000 ONEOK shareholders, owns almost 2 percent of the company’s outstanding shares. The proposal, co-sponsored with Calvert Asset Management, calls for a report on the feasibility of setting goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to be completed by Dec. 31, 2008.
In the days leading up to the annual meeting, two leading independent proxy advisors, RiskMetrics Group and PROXY Governance, Inc., recommended investors support the CalSTRS-sponsored shareholder resolution.
Utility companies such as ONEOK lead all business sectors in the production of greenhouse gases, accounting for 25 percent of total emissions worldwide according to a report issued by the Carbon Disclosure Project. CalSTRS filed its resolution due to the growing regulatory, competitive and public pressure to reduce greenhouse emissions.
CalSTRS’ ONEOK resolution is one of a record 55 global warming shareholder resolutions filed this proxy season with U.S. companies. The resolutions are nearly double the number filed just two years ago. They have been filed by some of the nation’s largest institutional investors who are members of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, an alliance of institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $5 trillion.
Established 95 years ago, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a $164 billion portfolio, is the second-largest public pension fund in the United States. It administers retirement, disability and survivor benefits for California’s 813,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,400 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.