Financial Times | For decades campaigners have picketed oil and gas offices, blockaded refineries and disrupted operations. Now the energy sector is facing a new kind of activism: from its own shareholders.
Environmental shareholder group Follow This is also opposed to Third Point’s proposal to split Shell into a legacy oil company and a new gas and low carbon business, which founder Mark van Baal labelled “short-term activism” that would not help the fight against climate change.
Set up in the Netherlands in 2015 as a platform to help retail investors press oil and gas companies to shift away from fossil fuels, Follow This takes a different approach to the multibillion-dollar activist investors in London and New York.
It filed shareholder resolutions last year at Shell, BP, Equinor, Chevron and Phillips 66 to compel each company to set emissions reductions targets compliant with goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. One of its most successful resolutions, at Shell, received support from 30 per cent of shareholders in May. This year it extended the campaign to four more companies including Exxon and ConocoPhilips.
“Engagement doesn’t work, votes work,” said Van Baal, criticising investors that he said voted with management in the hope of then achieving change through dialogue.