Exxon shareholders reject all climate resolutions at company’s AGM
On Wednesday 25 May, shareholders at ExxonMobil rejected all of the non-binding climate resolutions at its AGM in Dallas as they were recommended to do by the company’s Board of Directors, casting doubt on the effectiveness of the engagement approach pursued by the Church of England and other investors.
Recent investigations revealed that Exxon knew about the reality of climate change as early as the 1970s, yet poured resources into publicly denying climate change for years. The company is now under investigation by the FBI, at the request of the Department for Justice.
Now Exxon has once again demonstrated its unwillingness to change. The resolution proposed by the Church Commissioners, which called on Exxon to report on the impacts of climate change policies on their business, was rejected by 61.8% of shareholders. In an even greater setback, 81% of shareholders rejected a resolution to limit global warming to 2 degrees.
Exxon’s Chief Executive Rex Tillerson was defiant when pressed on the need to move away quickly from fossil fuels, saying that cutting oil production was “not acceptable for humanity”. It followed similar assertions from Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden, who said that a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy “could mean the end of the company”.
A large number of investors have already made the decision to divest from Exxon, including the Rockefeller Family Fund, which has described the company’s actions as “morally reprehensible”.
James Buchanan, who leads the Bright Now campaign for Operation Noah, said: “There is no time to wait for ExxonMobil to wake up to reality on the issue of climate change. We call on the Church of England to support the transition to renewable energy and divest from fossil fuel companies, beginning with Exxon.”