On Jan. 24, shareholders at the Ontario and Quebec grocery retailer METRO Inc. will have the opportunity to vote for a proposal calling for strengthened climate commitments.
Filed by SHARE, the Shareholder Association for Research and Education, alongside the University of Montreal Pension Plan, Régime de retraite de l’Université de Montréal, the proposal outlines tangible next steps that will make the company’s climate goals more substantial, traceable and meaningful.
As of this week, major American proxy advisory services company, Glass Lewis, who controls approximately 28 percent of the proxy advisory market, has expressed support for the resolution, recommending their clients vote in favour of the proposal.
SHARE is calling for METRO to establish and meet goals that support 1.5-degree-aligned, near- and long-term science-based GHG emissions reduction targets, including emissions from its full value chain, to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. As climate change continues to have an effect on the global food supply chain, including inflation from increased food and energy prices, METRO must step up and build a business plan that is resilient to all types of risk, including climate risk.
The resolution calls for Metro to establish targets that will:
- Follow the guidance of advisory groups such as the Science-Based Targets Initiative;
- Be publicly disclosed at least 180 days prior to the next annual shareholders meeting;
- Be supported by an enterprise-wide climate action plan outlining the steps the company will take to achieve net zero emissions.
The METRO AGM is one of the first of the season, and the results of this vote could set a new precedent for the many corporate climate proposals going to vote over the next several months.
While the Company has a goal to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 37.5% by 2035, it is not aligned with the global1.5-degree Paris Agreement goal. The Company has also not disclosed a time-bound plan to measure and set reduction targets for its full Scope 3/ value chain emissions, which are likely to represent its greatest contribution to climate change.
The Company lags peer companies, including both Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Empire Company Ltd. who announced commitments to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2040 and net-zero Scope 3 emissions by 2050 in line with the Science Based Targets Initiative.
A copy of SHARE’s proxy alert is available here.