Helen Wildsmith will next month join CDP as a strategic advisor to the investor initiatives team in order to strengthen and grow investor engagement on critical environmental issues.
CDP is a not-for-profit that runs the global disclosure system showing investors how companies manage their environmental impacts. Helen will split her time between CDP and CCLA, the specialist fund manager for charities and local authorities. Helen has been working with CCLA since 2007 and has pioneered a number of successful investor initiatives, including the ‘Aiming for A’ investor coalition, which she will continue to lead as CCLA’s Stewardship Director, Climate Change.
‘Aiming for A’ requests that the ten largest UK listed extractives and utilities companies demonstrate good strategic carbon management. This includes striving for continuous inclusion in CDP’s A List, which requires achieving an A for performance as evidenced by climate disclosures.
‘Aiming for A’, which has had considerable success, has two new members ahead of the 2016 AGM season. The first is Hermes Investment Management, on behalf of its stewardship services clients, such as the Environment Agency Pension Fund in the UK. The other new member to join is The Pensions Trust, one of the leading workplace pension funds in the UK. Hermes is also engaging with continental European companies on climate change-related challenges. Through her new role at CDP Helen will be better able to help investors develop such engagements.
Helen is a long standing member of the CDP Carbon Catalyst Group that helped launch Carbon Action in 2011. Carbon Action currently asks the world’s highest emitting companies to implement emissions reductions that deliver a satisfactory return on investment. It has investor signatories representing US$22 trillion of assets. Helen will now help CDP tailor this initiative for its second five years. In addition, Helen’s wealth of experience will be immensely valuable in helping to deliver insights from CDP’s unique environmental dataset and new sector research series, which will support further investor engagement.
In addition to convening ‘Aiming for A’ in the UK, Helen's continuing responsibilities at CCLA include client-driven climate change engagement, and participation in the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change’s policy working group on behalf of all CCLA’s not-for-profit clients.
Helen Wildsmith says: “Global investor stewardship will be key to carbon emissions peaking by 2020. Joining CDP as a strategic advisor, while retaining responsibility for CCLA’s climate change engagement, is a great opportunity to build on what’s been achieved since the launch of Carbon Action and ‘Aiming for A’.”
Paul Dickinson, executive chairman at CDP adds: “We are delighted to welcome Helen to CDP. Together we believe that initiatives like ‘Aiming for A’, along with CDP’s own investor initiatives, will be able to grow significantly in scope, scale and impact, and Helen’s wealth of experience will be invaluable in helping CDP accelerate climate action at this critical time.”
James Bevan, CCLA’s CIO says: “Climate change is a key risk for investors and meaningful stewardship is essential as we transition to a low carbon economy. By combining roles at CCLA and CDP Helen will be able to dedicate her focus to this vital area”