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Asset manager Amundi to seek climate specifics from companies

* Amundi seeks data on emissions reduction plans, targets

* Plans should win Science Based Targets initiative backing

* CEO and board pay should be linked to sustainability goals

LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Amundi, Europe’s biggest asset manager, said on Thursday it would seek more specifics from companies at upcoming shareholder meetings about their plans to reduce emissions.

The move is the latest by a major asset manager to challenge companies over their plans to transition to a low-carbon economy, ahead of the next round of global climate talks this year when countries are set to debate tougher targets.

Amundi said it had written to 500 firms this week detailing priority issues that would guide its voting plans, including a call for companies to release specific reduction targets not just long-term ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Amundi’s focus on shorter-term target setting is likely to be an increasing focus for asset managers this year. It mirrors Wednesday’s warning from BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager.

Amundi, which oversees 1.7 trillion euros in assets, has also gone a step further by saying it wanted more companies to ensure their plans were science-based and rigorous enough to be signed off by the U.N.-backed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Boards should also ensure that executive pay was in line with the firm’s performance, at an “acceptable” level relative to market benchmarks, and that all parts of the remuneration package integrated sustainability objectives, including climate.

“As an asset manager, Amundi has a duty to provide its investor clients with strong, consistent returns over the long term, together with a positive contribution to major social issues and the stability of economies,” said Jean-Jacques Barbéris, Amundi’s head of the institutional and corporate clients division and environmental, social and governance (ESG). (Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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