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Jun

2017

Exxon climate resolution passed despite opposition from Board of Directors

 

Shareholders of ExxonMobil have voted in favour of a resolution calling on the company to report on the impacts of climate policies on its business, despite opposition from Exxon’s Board of Directors.

The resolution, which was supported by the Church of England and other investors, was passed by 62.3% of the company’s shareholders at Exxon’s AGM in the US on Wednesday 31 May.

It follows the rejection of a similar resolution at the company’s AGM in 2016 by 61.8% of shareholders, which led to calls for the Church of England to divest from Exxon, as well as the rejection of all other resolutions on climate change since 1990.

The passing of this resolution is a sign that activist pressure on ExxonMobil is working. As well as the shareholder uprising, the company is facing public protest, multiple investigations and a growing divestment campaign.

Photo credit: Eman Mohammed/350.org

While the outcome of the vote is a positive step forward, the resolution does not require ExxonMobil to reduce its carbon emissions, but only report on the impact of climate policies on its business.

The company is currently under investigation by Attorneys General in New York and Massachusetts over claims it lied to the public and investors about the dangers and potential risks of climate change.

In order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, global carbon emissions must start declining by 2020, according to former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.

James Buchanan, divestment campaigner for Operation Noah, said: “We commend the work of the Church Commissioners and other investors who have succeeded in getting the climate resolution passed by shareholders at ExxonMobil’s AGM this year. However, it is important to remember that Exxon’s Board of Directors urged shareholders to vote against the resolution, showing that the company is still failing to take climate change seriously. In order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the speed of the transition and shift of investments from fossil fuels to renewable energy must accelerate dramatically.”

Operation Noah, along with 350.org and many others, believe it is unethical for churches and other institutions to invest in fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil. More than 730 institutions representing $5.4 trillion in assets have now committed to divest from fossil fuels.