By June 2, 2017 Read More →

Exxon investors push to discuss climate with company

Exxon investors

Exxon investors are hoping to meet with the company this summer to discuss climate-associated risks related to the company. AP photo by Mark Humphrey.

Exxon investors vote for studies on technology, climate-related risks

Over fifty groups of Exxon investors looking for answers on climate-related risks associated with the company will push to meet with Exxon officials this summer to discuss the elements of a climate-impact analysis.

The request comes after a shareholder proposal filed by 54 groups, including financial, religious and corporate governance activists, won the support of 62 per cent of Exxon holders.


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Following the vote, the company has said it will reconsider its opposition to the request, but that it not would begin discussions or initiate new studies.

In a Reuters report, Tracey Rembert, assistant director of Catholic Responsible Investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services said the group is planning to ask the company to conduct scenario planning exercises that would examine risks associated with disruptive technology, climate or government policies.

“What are the black swan events that can take place beyond low oil prices, aggressive policies or shifting consumer preferences?” she said.

Rembert said President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord has no bearing on the proposal.  “We expect the scenario assessment will start to be done quickly at Exxon.”

Rembert said in the past, the investors who submitted the proposal met with Exxon between December and February to discuss annual meeting proposals. This year, because of the majority vote win, discussions will be held earlier with the company.

Pressure from Exxon investors comes at a time when Devon Energy and Hess Corp owners said they will weigh in on climate-impact resolutions.

According to Reuters, the ballot initiatives press for greater studies on the risks that future government carbon-reduction efforts could make oil and gas reserves uneconomic, and ultimately lead to investment losses.

Ceres, a non-profit group that tracks environmental records of public companies says this year, study proposals received at least 40 per cent approval at Duke Energy, Marathon Oil and Southern Co.

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“When investors make a very strong statement at a company the size of Exxon Mobil, other competitors in their industry take notice and may reconsider or rethink their investor dialogue on these issues,” Bruce Goldfarb, chief executive of proxy solicitor Okapi Partners told Reuters.

Jay Wilson, vice president of investor relations at Hess said the company talks on a regular basis with large shareholders, but he declined to comment on any discussions since the Exxon vote.

Devon did not respond to requests for comment.

The Reuters report says both companies oppose the studies.


Tony Seba

Posted in: Energy Financial

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