A group of more than 200 global investors, including banking giant HSBC and French insurer AXA, launched an initiative on Tuesday to pressure major greenhouse gas emitters to fight climate change.
The coalition of 225 companies announced the launch of "Climate Action 100+", a five-year initiative aimed at monitoring action by 100 of the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to battle global warming.
The plan will focus on three key measures: "to improve governance on climate change, curb emissions and strengthen climate-related financial disclosures," the coalition said in a statement announcing the plan.
AXA announced separately on Tuesday that it too would speed up its move away from the carbon sector, divesting some 2.5 billion euros ($2.9 billion) from companies which derive more than 30 percent of their revenues from coal.
Among the companies targeted by the Climate Action 100+ plan are large energy firms such as BP, Chevron and Coal India, firms in the transport sector such as Airbus, Ford and Volkswagen, and mining and steel groups such as ArcelorMittal, BHP Billiton and Glencore.
The energy sector accounts for three quarters of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.
Tuesday's announcement came as French President Emmanuel Macron hosted world leaders in Paris for climate finance talks.
It was two years to the day since 195 nations struck an accord to curb climate change: the so-called Paris Agreement.
- 'Losing the battle' -
"Moving 100 of the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to align their business plans with the goals of the Paris Agreement will have considerable ripple effects," Anne Simpson, Investment Director of Sustainability at pensions group CalPERS, one of the bodies behind the investment initiative, said in a statement.
"Our collaborative engagements with the largest emitters will spur actions across all sectors as companies work to avoid being vulnerable to climate risk and left behind."
Over five years, investors will monitor companies on the list to see how closely they follow through with implementing the climate measures. They will be removed from it once enough progress has been made.
The 225 companies behind the initiative are responsible for assets worth more than $26.3 trillion.
"Climate change is a material and systemic risk no long-term investor can afford to ignore," said Stephanie Maier, HSBC's Director of Responsible Investment, in a statement.
Tuesday's meetings hosted by Macron focussed on marshalling public and private funds to speed the move to a low-carbon economy.
Two years to the day since 195 nations sealed the Paris Agreement to avert worst-case-scenario climate change, investors announced billions of dollars of intended divestment from coal, oil, and gas at a finance-themed climate summit.
But conference host France, the UN, and the World Bank, warned that efforts to shift the global economy into a green energy future, were too little, too slow.
"We are losing the battle," French President Emmanuel Macron told delegates. "We are not moving fast enough."
In July, investors had urged world governments to support and fully implement the Paris Agreement, saying that "the mitigation of climate change is essential for the safeguarding of our investments".