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Investors worth $4 trillion file Exxon climate resolution

by Joel Kenrick

Church of England and New York State Co-File Climate Resolution: 'The manager of the Church of England’s £7bn (€8.2bn) endowment fund has co-filed a shareholders’ resolution asking ExxonMobil to disclose the impact of climate change on its business – its second attempt to obtain such disclosure. The Church Commissioners for England want the oil and gas giant to give more detail as to how it will ensure its business will remain resilient as global efforts to mitigate climate change proceed. The resolution has also been filed by the New York State Common Retirement Fund, along with a coalition of institutional investors with US$4trn under management, including CalPERS, the Vermont State Treasurer’s Office, and a number of US church organisations. (Church Commissioners turns up pressure on ExxonMobil, 28 Feb, Investment & Pensions Europe). 'A similar submission didn’t get majority support from shareholders at Exxon’s last annual meeting in May, but it did get the highest vote (about 38 percent support) that the company has ever seen for a climate change proposal. Another proposal at Chevron Corp. did the same last year, with 41 percent support.' (ExxonMobil Investors Again Seek Climate Risk Disclosures, 24 Feb, Bloomberg BNA). See Church of England release for full list of co-filers (Investors with $4tr under management renew call on Exxon to address climate risk, 23 Feb). Also in Pensions & Investments, New York Law Journal, Albany Times Union, Climate Home.

Will Vanguard & BlackRock join State Street in backing resolution? Helen Avery asks Will ETF providers join the Church and save the planet? (Euromoney, March 2017). 'Motley Fool says Vanguard, State Street and BlackRock are the three biggest institutional owners of Exxon Mobil stock, and together they have a staggering $11 trillion in assets under management. Think of the impact they could have. Yet last May, BlackRock and Vanguard voted against a high-profile proposal calling on Exxon to report on the impact climate change policies could have on its business – votes that helped Exxon defeat the measure. State Street, (the smallest of the three) on the other hand, did back the proposal. [...] Competition in the booming ETF market is fierce and, lest we forget, ETFs are the darling of the ethical and environmentally-protective millennial generation – BlackRock and Vanguard won’t want to let State Street be the climate change hero alone.' (Will ETF providers join the Church and save the planet?, March 2017, Euromoney)

Exxon new CEO backs carbon tax but still sees Canadian oil sands potential: 'In his first blog post since succeeding Rex Tillerson, the new head of Exxon Mobil Corp. focused on climate change, calling for a carbon tax to discourage use of polluting fuels.' (Exxon's New Chief Endorses Carbon Tax to Combat Climate Change, 23 Feb, Bloomberg). According to Forbes, Woods insists that 'the solution lies in technology' and 'believes that the next decade will bring advances in biofuels and batteries and carbon sequestration that will help to dramatically reduce carbon emissions' (Exxon Exclusive: New CEO Opens Up On Russia, Climate Change, And The Permian Boom, 27 Feb, Forbes). 

Exxon CEO says still sees potential in Canadian oil sands 'despite a recent write-down in the value of nearly all [3.5bn barrels] its oil sands reserves there' Darren Woods said on sidelines of Exxon's analyst day in New York (1 Mar, Reuters). In his presentation Mr Woods 'said the company had 3bn-4bn boe that it would potentially be able to add to its reserves in 2017-18' and said 'that “in the right market conditions” the company expected to increase its output of oil and gas by an average of 2 per cent per year over 2016-20.' (Exxon’s new chief forecasts higher production growth, 1 Mar, Financial Times). According to Business Green his blog 'signalled his backing for the Paris Agreement' and he even claimed 'our company forecasts carbon reductions consistent with the results of the Paris accord commitments' (New ExxonMobil CEO indicates backing for Paris Agreement and carbon tax, 24 Feb, Business Green).

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