– PRESS RELEASE –
Activist group Follow This wins third consecutive Big Oil ballot in US
Global investors demand urgent emissions reductions
Follow This wins third majority in US for first emission reductions proposals since Paris Accord
In Europe, support for all three climate proposals more than doubled
Surge in support defies proxy voting advice and grows in spite of corporations’ efforts to convince investors of their current plans
Global investors overwhelmingly demand short term emissions reductions
A majority of shareholders in Chevron supported the Follow This climate resolution in the first ballot of its kind at the US oil major. The result follows victories for the Dutch activist group earlier this month at ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 after the SEC, the Wall Street Regulator, allowed investors to vote on climate resolutions.
61% of shareholders in Chevron have voted for a proposal by Follow This to encourage the US oil company to reduce all of its emissions. Earlier this month, 58% of shareholders voted for a similar Follow This resolution at ConocoPhillips and 80% at Phillips66.
“These votes reflect a rising awareness that shareholders’ votes are crucial to rapidly scale the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Institutional investors understand that no investment is safe in a global economy wracked by devastating climate change.” – Mark van Baal
“This majority vote is a victory in the fight against climate change. By passing our climate proposal, investors urge Chevron and the entire oil industry to change in order to achieve the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement to limit climate change to well below 2°C,” says Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This. “Chevron cannot ignore this unequivocal request from its shareholders. Big Oil can make or break the Paris Accord. Investors in oil companies are saying now: we want you to act by decreasing emissions now, not in the distant future.”
Follow This leads series of global shareholder rebellions
Earlier this month, support for Follow This climate resolutions more than doubled at three European oil majors, garnering a percentage of 21% at BP, 39% at Equinor and 30% at Shell, despite their net zero by 2050 promises. Thanks to the pressure of the growing number of investors who have backed resolutions that request Paris-aligned emissions reductions since 2016, oil majors have already made promises for net zero in 2050, including the emissions of their products. The landslide victories in the US indicate there is hope among investors that American oil majors, whose current climate ambitions lag far behind their EU peers, will follow suit.
The surge of support for climate resolutions at European companies comes in spite of negative voting advice from both major proxy advisors, ISS and Glass Lewis. This indicates that shareholders are no longer keen to merely flock behind the advice of proxy advisors and company management. Instead, institutional investors are stepping into their role as stewards of a sustainable economy, and using their votes to demand a future that will secure their assets against climate breakdown.
A paradigm shift
The 2021 AGM season has seen a shift in industry perspective on the hard line for climate action. Here is a summary of the most recent events:
The recent IEA report, released on the same day as Shell’s AGM, calls for an immediate stop to all new oil and gas projects in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Today in the US, a group of shareholders voted against the board directors of ExxonMobil for lack of climate policy.
Today in the Netherlands, in the historic court case of Friends of the Earth versus Shell, the judge ruled that Shell must decrease emissions by 45% by 2030. Shell’s consistent rejection of the Follow This climate resolution – that requests the same – was used as a crucial exhibit by Roger Cox, the lawyer of Friends of the Earth. “Big Oil can no longer dismiss the crucial role it has to play in the fight against climate change, according to the judge.”