Shareholders of Exxon and Chevron rebuffed

In the US, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) has granted requests by oil supermajors Chevron and Exxon Mobil to reject a shareholder proposals demanding a report on how the companies are aligning to climate change goals. In a separate ruling, the SEC also allowed Chevron to avoid the question of whether it intends to align with the Paris goal at all.

This is something of an ongoing battle as such proposals were first presented last year by shareholders including the Church of England and not-for-profit As You Sow.

Exxon is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters, and unlike other oil firms BP, Repsol, Total, Eni and Shell, it has done little to redefine its business.

Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, said: “If companies do not intend to align with the global Paris goal, they should be clear with shareholders. Only through clear and comparable reporting can shareholders benchmark company actions and make sound investment decisions.”

As You Sow describes the current reporting by Exxon and Chevron as “confusing at best” noting that Exxon has implied it is in alignment with the global Paris Agreement, yet has announced increased investments in oil and gas projects. Similarly, Chevron notes that it is in alignment with the Paris Agreement’s Nationally Determined Contributions, but fails to alert shareholders that such commitments will allow global temperature increases well above 2C.

Sanford Lewis, attorney for shareholders, said in response to the ruling: “Since 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission staff have rewritten the principles governing shareholder proposals to make it much more difficult for shareholders to file proposals at the oil majors regarding climate change. These interpretations by the SEC ban proposals that are too specific as ‘micromanaging,’ but also allow companies to declare a proposal that complies with the new micromanagement interpretation to be substantially implemented by general, nonresponsive publications by the big oil and gas companies. What’s more, in SEC decisions last week the only proposal remotely related to climate change that will be allowed at ExxonMobil essentially asserts that the company is spending too much money on environmental issues and especially climate change, and asks for the company to justify its environmental spending.”

    Share Story:

Recent Stories