Quantcast
Energy
ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. WClarke / CC BY-SA 4.0

Major Investors Pressure Exxon to Set CO2 Reduction Targets

The world's largest oil company is being pressured by major shareholders to take action on climate change.

Institutional investors with an estimated $1.9 trillion under management, led by the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF) and the Church Commissioners of England (CCE), filed a shareholder resolution calling on ExxonMobil to set targets for lowering its greenhouse gas emissions, covering emissions from both its operations and the use of its products.


The NYSCRF is the third largest public pension fund in the U.S., with assets of $207.4 billion as of March 31, and the Church of England's investment fund manages investable assets of some £8.3 billion ($10.5 billion), according to the comptroller's office.

Their move—made a day after the critical COP24 climate summit in Poland wrapped up—is similar to the direct shareholder pressure applied to Royal Dutch Shell. After some hard resistance, Shell became the first energy giant earlier this month to set short-term greenhouse gas reduction targets, linking them to executive pay.

In a press release on Sunday, NYSCRF and CCE called on Exxon to disclose short, medium and long-term targets for greenhouse gases. The goals align with the Paris agreement to limit global temperature rise to below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit increases to 1.5°C.

"ExxonMobil's lack of greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets puts it at odds with its industry peers that have taken such steps," said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who heads the state's retirement fund, in the press release. "The world is transitioning to a lower carbon future and Exxon needs to demonstrate its ability to adapt or risk its bottom line along with investors' confidence."

The California Public Employees' Retirement System, HSBC Global Asset Management, Presbyterian Church USA and SHARE on behalf of Fonds de Solidarité des Travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) also joined the call led by NYSCRF and CCE.

The resolution is expected to be considered at ExxonMobil's annual shareholder meeting in the spring of 2019.

"We want to see ExxonMobil develop a clear strategy for long-term sustainability," the CCE's head of responsible investment, Edward Mason, also said in the press release. "Our request would bring Exxon in line with its biggest European peer, Shell, and we believe the board can and should support it."

The resolution was developed in line with the global Climate Action 100+ investor initiative that calls on companies to take climate action and curb emissions. The Exxon resolution comes just weeks after Shell and Climate Action 100+ signatories agreed to new climate goals, the press release noted.

"Global investors are increasingly calling on the companies that they own to demonstrate that they are prepared for a carbon-constrained future," said Andrew Logan of the nonprofit Ceres, one of Climate Action 100+'s founding partners, in the press release. "Setting ambitious goals consistent with the Paris agreement to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions—and taking concrete steps to actualize those goals—would be a sign to investors that Exxon is taking this issue seriously."

In October, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a lawsuit against Exxon alleging the company defrauded shareholders and downplayed the risk of climate change to its business.

In response to the NYSCRF and CCE resolution, the climate action group 350.org—one of the leaders of the ongoing fossil fuel divestment movement—urged DiNapoli to stop negotiating with Exxon and to formally cut ties with the company.

"As long as he invests New Yorker's money into rogue oil corporations like ExxonMobil, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli dangerously remains inertia's avatar on climate," said Betámia Coronel, New Yorker and organizer with 350.org in a statement provided to EcoWatch. "UN reports warn that we must rapidly transform our economy to 100 percent renewable energy and keep fossil fuels in the ground, yet DiNapoli touts 'talking to Exxon' while failing to reduce the state pension fund's climate footprint. Tom DiNapoli is failing New Yorkers and his fiduciary duty until he divests from all fossil fuels."

A recent report by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben revealed that more than 1,000 institutions around the world representing nearly $8 trillion in assets have committed to divest from carbon-intensive companies.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Renewable Energy
A prototype of GE's massive new wind turbine will be installed in the industrial area of Maasvlakte 2 in Rotterdam. GE Renewable Energy

World's Largest Wind Turbine to Test Its Wings in Rotterdam

Rotterdam's skyline will soon feature the world's largest and most powerful offshore wind turbine.

GE Renewable Energy announced on Wednesday it will install the first 12-megawatt Haliade-X prototype in the Dutch city this summer. Although it's an offshore wind turbine by design, the prototype will be installed onshore to facilitate access for testing.

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
Colorful, fresh organic vegetables. fcafotodigital / Getty Images

A New Diet for the Planet

By Tim Radford

An international panel of health scientists and climate researchers has prescribed a new diet for the planet: more vegetables, less meat, fresh fruit, whole grains and pulses, give up sugar, waste less and keep counting the calories.

And if 200 nations accept the diagnosis and follow doctor's orders, tomorrow's farmers may be able to feed 10 billion people comfortably by 2050, help contain climate change, and prevent 11 million premature deaths per year.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Children's books about the environment. U.S. Air Force photo / Karen Abeyasekere

This State Might Require Public Schools to Teach Climate Change

Reading, writing, arithmetic ... and climate science. That doesn't have the same ring as the "three Rs" of education, but Connecticut could one day require the subject to be on the curriculum, The Associated Press reported.

A Connecticut state lawmaker is pushing a bill to mandate the teaching of climate change in public schools throughout the state, starting in elementary school.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
NASA's ICESCAPE mission investigates the changing conditions in the Arctic. NASA / Kathryn Hansen

These Eye-Opening Memes Show the Real 10-Year Challenge

Before-and-after photos of your friends have probably taken over your Facebook and Instagram feeds, but environmentalists are using the #10YearChallenge to insert a dose of truth.

Memes of shrinking glaciers, emaciated polar bears and coral bleaching certainly subvert the feel-good viral sensation, but these jarring images really show our planet in a worrying state of flux.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Vial containing swab from a deceased duck, collected for testing during the 2014-2015 avian influenza outbreak. © 2015 Erica Cirino, used with permission.

Could Trump’s Government Shutdown Cause Outbreaks of Wildlife Disease?

By Erica Cirino

The current U.S. government shutdown could worsen ongoing wildlife disease outbreaks or even delay responses to new epidemics, according to federal insiders and outside experts who work with federal wildlife employees.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Vegan raw cheese from cashew nuts. byheaven/ iStock / Getty Images

Vegan Cheese: What’s the Best Dairy-Free Option?

By Ansley Hill, RD, LD

Cheese is one of the most beloved dairy products across the globe. In the U.S. alone, each person consumes more than 38 pounds (17 kg) of cheese per year, on average (1).

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Insights/Opinion
Sun setting behind the Fawley Oil Refinery in Fawley, England. Clive G' / CC BY-ND 2.0

Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe'

By Jessica Corbett

Ahead of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland next week—which convenes the world's wealthiest and most powerful for a summit that's been called both the "money Oscars" and a "threat to democracy"—the group published a report declaring, "Of all risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe."

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Robusta coffee beans growing on a tree. Dag Sundberg / Getty Images

60% of Wild Coffee Species at Risk for Extinction

If humans don't wake up now to the threats posed by climate change and habitat loss, we may be in for a permanently sleepy future. A study led by scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew found that 60 percent of wild coffee species are at risk for extinction.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!