Shareholder rebellion at Chevron and Exxon as 33% and 28% vote in favour of Paris-consistent climate targets


One third of shareholders vote in favour of Follow This climate proposal at Chevron, despite fears that energy crisis would eclipse climate crisisSignificant minorities of shareholders at Chevron (33%) and ExxonMobil (28%) voted in favour of the climate proposals filed by Follow This during their annual shareholders’ meetings today. “The votes signal investors’ impatience with Big Oil’s refusal to curb emissions by 2030,” responds Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This, the group of green shareholders that filed the climate proposals. “These investors realize that Big Oil can make or break the Paris Accord which calls for deep emissions reductions this decade.”“One third is a shareholder rebellion. We thank these investors who see that Big Oil, not only Exxon and Chevron, will not change its business model on its own accord. Together with these investors we have to convince the other investors to vote in favour of Paris-alignment as well. ” “A minority of investors have not given in to Exxon’s and Chevron’s narrative that the energy crisis created by the war in Ukraine overrides the climate crisis.”“A majority of investors might have been distracted from the climate crisis by capital returns to shareholders by way of dividends and share buybacks as a result of the recent windfall profits from the energy crisis.”“Both crises must be dealt with simultaneously by shifting investments to renewables. The current windfall profits from high oil prices should be used to make the enormous investments in renewables that are needed to address the climate crisis and reduce dependency on oil and gas fields tied up in geo-political conflict.”“The hardships of the current energy crisis will be dwarfed by the consequences of devastating climate change.”In 2021, shareholders in Chevron voted for a less stringent climate proposal that just requested substantial emissions reductions, not Paris-consistent emissions reductions as in 2022. Follow This spoke during both AGMs; read the full statement by Follow This at Exxon and ChevronInvestors recognize Chevron and Exxon are not Paris aligned Chevron “Chevron has set insufficient targets for 2028, promising a 5% carbon intensity reduction of all its emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3).”“One-third of investors in Chevron were not appeased by the tiny steps Chevron took since last year’s AGM,” responds Mark van Baal.ExxonMobil 2022 marked the first Follow This climate resolution at Exxon. Follow This requested Exxon, as well as other oil majors, to set Paris-consistent emission reduction targets for all emissions. “With their votes, investors in ExxonMobil urge the company to set targets for Scope 3 emissions. Exxon is the last oil major without such targets. Shell, BP, Equinor, Chevron, and Phillips 66 reluctantly set Scope 3 targets after investors voted for Follow This climate proposals.” Engine No.1“The new (climate competent) board members elected as a result of last year’s campaign by activist investor Engine No.1 have been unable to convince their fellow board members of the most fundamental requirement to tackle the climate crisis: reducing product emissions (Scope 3). Exxon set targets for Scope 1 and 2 only, failing to address 90% of its emissions.” In its proxy statement, ExxonMobil advised shareholders to vote against the proposal and specifically rejected accountability for the emissions of its products (Scope 3); the company calls Scope 3 accounting methods ‘duplicative and flawed’. According to the CA100+ benchmark, neither Chevron’s and Exxon’s targets nor capital expenditure plans are aligned with a 1.5 degrees pathway.  Thanks to investors “The votes indicate that a quarter to one third of shareholders will not allow Chevron and Exxon to continue business as usual,” said Mark van Baal, the founder of Follow This. “We thank the investors for their votes. They are the real change agents of an industry which has been reluctant to change for decades.”“Big Oil can make or break the Paris Accord. Investors in oil companies that vote for these proposals are unequivocal in their request: we want you to act by decreasing your emissions sufficiently to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.” “More and more institutional investors want all companies in which they are invested to commit to Paris,” Van Baal said, “because they foresee that they cannot make a decent return on their capital in a world economy disrupted by devastating climate change.”

Complicit “Investors who vote against Paris-consistent emission reductions should realize that they are complicit in Big Oil’s refusal to reduce emissions this decade and are therefore complicit if the world fails to meet the Paris goal.” Minorities drive change “In the past, even minority support from institutional investors has proven effective in advancing Big Oil’s climate targets”. In Europe, in 2017, Shell was the first oil major to reluctantly take accountability for Scope 3 after 6% voted for the Follow This climate resolution. In early 2020, BP followed suit after 8% in 2019.” “With their votes, investors urge Exxon, Chevron and the entire oil industry to take the climate crisis seriously and change in order to achieve the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. The window of action against the climate crisis is closing fast; we need oil majors to shift investments to decrease emissions within this decade.”