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UNIFI Unit Gets Hartford And Pru To Join Climate Change Fight

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A money manager affiliated with several midsize life and health insurers has mobilized 2 industry giants to help deal with concerns about air pollution.

The Calvert Group Ltd., Bethesda, Md., a company that manages socially screened mutual funds, has persuaded Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, and Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., to improve reporting on the risks the companies may face as result of pollution-triggered climate change.

Hartford and Prudential have agreed to fill out the climate risk disclosure questionnaire developed by the Carbon Disclosure Project, London, and they have agreed to disclose their assessment of the business impact of climate change, Calvert says.

More than 1,000 large companies now participate in the CDP disclosure program.

Calvert is a unit of UNIFI Mutual Holding Company, Lincoln, Neb., the parent of insurers such as the Ameritas Group, Lincoln, a major dental insurer, and Union Central Life Insurance Company, Cincinnati.

Calvert has been promoting shareholder resolutions that call for Hartford and Prudential to report on efforts to cope with climate change.

Now that Hartford and Prudential have agreed to improve climate-change reporting, Calvert is withdrawing the resolutions, Calvert says.

Hartford and Prudential are both emphasizing their interest in looking into the climate-change issue.

“As a responsible corporate citizen and as a major underwriter of risk, it’s appropriate for the Hartford to address the issue of climate change rigorously and comprehensively,” says Hartford General Counsel Neal Wolin.

“Prudential Financial recognizes the importance of addressing the business impact of climate change,” says Kathleen Gibson, a Prudential vice president.

Prudential is not a property-casualty insurer, “nor does the company have high greenhouse gas emissions,” Gibson says. “Nevertheless, we will be including on our Web site a section that addresses Prudential’s policies, programs and performance on the environment generally, and inform shareholders that we are and will continue to analyze the risks that environmental issues such as climate change may have on our business.”


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