ExxonMobil directors have advised shareholders to vote against a climate proposal submitted by green shareholder Follow This that requests Paris-consistent emissions reductions targets.
In 2021, the majority of shareholders voted in favor of the Follow This climate resolution at Chevron, Conoco, and P66. They also voted in three new non-executives, proposed by activist shareholder Engine No. 1, in the board of Exxon, Follow This reminded.
“ExxonMobil can expect a shareholder rebellion,” said Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This. “More and more investors do not accept Big Oil’s refusal to take adequate action against the climate crisis anymore. With the negative voting advice, the directors of ExxonMobil tell shareholders that they are unwilling to take responsibility at a time of devastating climate change.”
Follow This pointed out a key sentence in ExxonMobil’s directors’ negative response which noted that a proposal to constrain leading companies from production that currently has insufficient practical alternatives ‘simply transfers that production and associated emissions to other producers.’
The organization stated that this response by ExxonMobil showed a lack of imagination beyond oil and gas and that the board of the company fails to see that fossil fuels can be replaced by renewables.
“With ExxonMobil’s attitude, the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement will never be achieved. The world doesn’t demand oil and gas as such. The world demands energy and increasingly renewable energy,” van Baal added.
ExxonMobil stating that Scope 3 was not their responsibility is like Shell’s attitude in 2017, BP’s and Equinor’s in 2019, and Chevron’s, ConocoPhillips’, and Phillips66’ in 2021. Namely, all five claimed Scope 3 was beyond their management and all five reluctantly set a Scope 3 target after investors’ votes.
“The rejection of this climate resolution shows the board does not want to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement. In May, responsible investors will show ExxonMobil that Scope 3 is essential to mitigate the climate crisis by voting for this climate proposal, as they did with its peers Shell, BP, Equinor, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Phillips66 who all followed the same pattern,” van Baal said.
In May 2022, the Follow This climate resolutions will again come to a vote at the shareholders’ meeting of Shell, as well as eight or nine other oil majors. In 2021, investors’ votes in favor of these resolutions showed what Follow This described as a “shareholder rebellion at Big Oil”. But regardless of the investors asking for climate action, the companies responded with emissions reduction targets that fall short of the Paris alignment.
Follow This also quoted Hans-Otto Pörtner, the co-chair of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, who said: “The scientific evidence is unequivocal – climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a livable future.”
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