Investors Pressure GM, Boeing, Deere, Xerox to Quit U.S. Chamber

by | Oct 14, 2009

chamber of commerce logoTrying to ramp up pressure on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its position on climate change, an investors group has fired off letters to 14 major U.S. corporations, asking them to publicly distance themselves from the chamber’s positions.

Representing $16 billion in assets, the investors group is led by Walden Asset Management and Green Century Capital Management. The group also is asking the companies to clarify their positions to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which has opposed government action on climate change.

The investors group chose the 14 companies based on previous statements from the firms that they support action on climate change, according to a press release.

The investors group, in the letters, asked the companies to address their disagreement with the chamber and NAM by any of three methods:

  • withdraw membership
  • publicly disclose their disagreement with the chamber and NAM’s positions
  • ask the chamber and NAM to refund the portion of dues used to lobby against climate change action.

The letters state that the company’s face serious business and reputational risks due to the “misalignment of positions.”

“While some companies, including (yours), have articulated a business rationale for a national policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, … membership in NAM/Chamber sends a starkly contradictory message,” the letters state.

The 14 companies targeted by the investors group are:

  • Air Products & Chemicals
  • Alcoa
  • American Electric Power
  • Boeing Co.
  • Caterpillar
  • Cummins
  • Deere & Co.
  • DTE Energy
  • Entergy
  • Ford Motor Co.
  • General Motors Corp.
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Whirlpool
  • Xerox Corp.

A total of 43 investment groups and investment-focused organizations signed the letters. Those groups include: As You Sow, Catholic Healthcare West, Mercy Investment Program, Portfolio 21 and Trillium Asset Management Corp., among others.

To date, Apple has been the highest profile defection from the chamber. Also in recent weeks, PG&E, PMN and Exelon, three utilities, announced their intention not to renew their chamber memberships.

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