Investors call on ExxonMobil to set out climate targets

Darren Woods, ExxonMobil CEO
Darren Woods, ExxonMobil CEO

A number of investors have called on ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil and gas company, to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The call is led by the Church Commissioners for England (CCE) and the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYCRF), following similar moves by other energy firms for responsible action on climate change.

A shareholders resolution has been filed seeking short, medium and long-term targets for greenhouse gases, bringing it in line with its biggest European peer Shell.

New York State Comptroller and trustee of the NYCRF, Thomas DiNapoli, said: “ExxonMobil’s lack of GHG emissions reduction targets puts it at odds with its industry peers that have taken such steps.

“The world is transitioning to a lower carbon future and Exxon needs to demonstrate its ability to adapt or risk its bottom line along with investors’ confidence.”

The resolution is expected to be voted on by shareholders at ExxonMobil’s 2019 annual meeting in spring.

It seeks goals be set out in line with the Paris Agreement following similar moves by Total and Shell.

The CCE’s head of responsible investment, Edward Mason, said: “We want to see ExxonMobil develop a clear strategy for long-term sustainability, in line with international commitments for a safer climate.

“While we have been pleased to see ExxonMobil start to address the impact of climate change on its business over the past two years, the company has much more to do.

“Our request would bring Exxon in line with its biggest European peer, Shell, and we believe the board can and should support it.”

Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement comes as Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said despite the current prominence of the climate change agenda, the Scottish Government will “continue to champion” North Sea oil and gas.

He said: ““This is about having a managed transition in the sector, not shutting it down overnight as some would have us do, creating enormous problems in terms of the economy.

“We do accept the need to decarbonise but we need to do it in a managed way that doesn’t break the economy in the process.”

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