On October 24th, 2016, CSER, the Global Shapers Cambridge Hub, and Positive+Investment co-hosted a workshop on the auto sector for investors, sector experts, academics, non-governmental actors, specialist lawyers, and others. The goal was to identify strategies to accelerate the inevitable transition to electric and alternative vehicles, with a particular focus on boosting companies’ research and development investments.
The day began with expert testimony from Raj Thamotheram of Preventable Surprises (topic: the demand-side sectors: autos and utilities), Helen Wildsmith of CCLA (topic: Stewardship 101), Greg Archer of Transport & Environment (topic: overview of the auto sector), and Alice Garton of ClientEarth (topic: legal strategies).
The assembled participants spent the rest of the day identifying levers and strategies to achieve the goal of the workshop. The group identified key players to influence such as trade organisations, the $1 trillion Japanese government pension fund (GPIF), the $900 billion Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, the three German family shareholders controlling that country’s largest automakers, major purchasers of vehicle fleets, doctors and other health professionals, and more. At the end of the day, nearly every participant stood up to commit to at least one specific outcome-orientated task. Commitments included co-filing shareholder resolutions at auto companies’ annual general meetings, convening family majority shareholders in Germany, filing legal cases, and more.
The day finished with a well-attended keynote address by Colin Melvin, Global Head of Stewardship of Hermes Investment Management, the largest shareholder engagement operation in the world. The topic of his talk was “Who actually controls public companies and in whose interest are they run?”