Stryker GHG Reduction Goals 2013
|Filer||Walden Asset Management|
|Subject(s)||Climate Change; Greenhouse Gas Emissions|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals|
|Status||Withdrawn; Company will address|
Shareholders request that the Board of Directors adopt quantitative goals, based on current technologies, for reducing total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Stryker’s operations and that the Company report to shareholders by November 30, 2013 on its plans to achieve these goals. The report should omit proprietary information and be prepared at reasonable cost.
The science of climate change is well established. The American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest organization of earth, ocean and climate scientists published a Position Statement on the Human Impacts on Climate “ The earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming…The cause of climate change…is tied to energy use and runs through modern society. Mitigation and adaptation strategies will call for collaborations across science, technology, industry and government.”
Global carbon pollution is escalating. 2010 was a record year for GHG emissions with a 5.9 percent increase over the 2009 global estimate, according to the Global Carbon Project. The increase is larger than the worst-case scenario expected by United Nations scientists when the 2008 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was issued. It is widely agreed that research has understated the enormity of the impact of GHG emissions.
Climate change has a significant negative impact on economic growth. In 2012, an independent report commissioned by 20 governments found that failure to respond adequately to climate change already poses a cost to global economic growth of 1.6 percent or $1.2 trillion annually (www.daraint.org). The authors concluded that rising temperatures and carbon pollution are on track to reduce global economic output 3.2 percent by 2030, an amount that dwarfs the costs associated with abatement.
Companies must be part of the solution. While substantial U.S. and international policy addressing climate change has stalled, businesses and countries are taking significant steps to reduce emissions as costs to taxpayers, shareholders and economies from severe weather events mount. In anticipation of emissions regulation and climate legislation, companies that proactively adopt emissions reduction plans will likely have a competitive advantage.
Investors increasingly expect companies to disclose GHG mitigation plans and progress. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which represents 655 institutional investors globally with $78 trillion in assets, seeks standardized disclosure of companies’ climate change strategies, GHG emissions and energy use. In 2012, 69 percent of S&P 500 companies responded to the CDP questionnaire, including two-thirds of the health care sector.
Stryker’s response to date falls short. While Stryker competitors such as Boston Scientific, Medtronic and Zimmer Holdings responded to CDP, Stryker declined to participate in 2011 or 2012 and does not otherwise report publicly on GHG management plans. We believe this shortcoming reflects a lack of emissions abatement targets and goals. While Stryker acknowledges the importance of addressing climate change and says plans are underway, currently investors have no access to meaningful information.
We believe setting targets is an important step in the development of a comprehensive long term strategy to significantly reduce GHG emissions.