Washington (GGM) Analysis
by Noreen Wise
American publicly traded global fossil fuel companies are in for a turbulent next twelve months. Exxon was feeling this rough ride at it’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday May 29, 2019. Two of its largest shareholders were demanding climate action accountability and threatened to wrangle the support of fellow shareholders and vote the directors out.
The New York State Common Retirement Fund, led by Thomas DiNapoli, the New York State Comptroller, along with The Church of England led the proxy fight. And although they may have missed their targeted goal of outright removal, they successfully increased shareholder support for climate responsibility. More eyes will now be closely following decision makers, and tweeting about their objections.
The Church of England, another large Exxon shareholder, believes in ethical finance. They’ve made their shock and frustration with Exxon’s refusal to act on #climatechange very public.
“This has been a very difficult AGM for Exxon and a warning shot to management.” ~Edward Mason, Church of England
Climate Action 100+ is a force to be reckoned with. This powerful group of 324 #climate focused international investors, control $33.4 trillion in assets. They have a reach far beyond America’s political divide with a proven ability to move mountains. American conservative investors who aren’t paying attention may find their political allegiance selling them short in the long run, maybe even the short run depending on where the next Category 4 or 5 hurricane or tornado strikes.
Exxon’s press release, following their shareholder’s meeting on May 29, 2019, stated: “ExxonMobil expects to increase annual earnings potential more than 140 percent and double potential annual cash flow from operations by 2025 from 2017 adjusted earning, assuming a 2017 oil price of $60 per barrel adjusted for inflation based on 2017 margins.” Seeing numbers like 140% and a doubling of “potential cash flow” without a concrete plan for climate action, is a clear statement that Exxon views profits as far more important than cutting carbon.
The climate action world does not agree with Exxon’s disregard for their responsibility to decrease Exxon’s carbon footprint. The climate focused public will happily avoid Exxon gas stations, and instead choose Shell and BP. If dollars are the only way to connect with Exxon’s decision makers, the public will accept this and send our objections using dollars. No problem.
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