In 2018, ExxonMobil left ALEC, a highly controversial lobbying group, due to disagreement on climate change positions. CBIS pushed this issue at our last in-person dialogue, asking for policy consistency. Exxon also announced robust methane reduction goals, to decrease it overall greenhouse gas profile.
In December 2017, ExxonMobil announced it would produce the Two Degree Assessment that CBIS and other institutional investors requested through a successful shareholder proposal in May. Subsequently, the company release two reports in February 2018, with analysis of “energy demand sensitivies, implications of Two Degree scenarios, and positioning for a lower-carbon future.” CBIS will be reviewing these thoroughly and reporting back to our investors on our learnings and future action steps.
On May 31, 2017, shareholders voted 62.1% in favor of Proposal 12, or the Two Degree Assessment proposal, which asked the company for reporting on its fossil fuel reserve risk under a 2 degree Celsius world. CBIS was a co-filer on the proposal and spent time and resources to build support from other faith investors, and to make the business case to dozens of large institutional investors globally. CBIS was part of a coalition of 54 investors respresenting $5 trillion in assets under management. Two-thirds of the filers were faith-based, and most were Catholic institutions. The resolution was the first environmental resolution to pass at Exxon, and the second highest vote in the company’s history.
In February 2017, CBIS hosted a meeting of over 75 investors in Washington, DC, in late February, featuring many of the top 100 holders of the company, to discuss where Exxon and its peers stand on key investor asks related to the energy transition.
In 4Q 2016, CBIS began to spearhead a new strategy to bring the weight of faith based investors behind a proposal asking for an assessment of the company’s reserves and resiliency under a two degree policy scenario (aka, the Paris Agreement). CBIS also met with the company in December, and pressed the company on its Energy Outlook assumptions, public policy, legal firestorms, and positioning the company for more rapid industry transition. We subsequently filed the Two Degree Assessment proposal after the dialogue took place, seeing no major changes in commitment or strategy from the company during that meeting. As of March 31, 2017, there are now over 50 co-filers to the proposal, representing over $4 trillion in assets under management. The proposal is consistent with requests for enhanced climate change disclosure that CBIS has requested of BP and Royal Dutch Shell.
CBIS co-filed a shareholder resolution in 4Q 2015 asking the company to support the goal of limiting global average temperature increases to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, in line with the goals of the recent Paris Climate Accord. On December 17, 2015, CBIS participated in a call with Exxon Mobil to discuss the resolution. Shareholders encouraged the company to establish goals for its climate change program, as many of their oil and gas peers have done. Simply reducing emissions by any amount over any time frame is not an effective way for investors to measure success. The company attempted to block our resolution from appearing on the ballot, as it disagrees with setting goals and instead feels its performance should be assessed based on solutions they put forward. However, it was unsuccessful, and a vote was held at the annual shareholder meeting in May 2016. CBIS attended the meeting and addressed the board, speaking on behalf of vulnerable communities and addressing the need for a new business model that takes into account the impacts on those communities while still providing energy to those who need it. The resolution received a vote of 18.5% in favor, a positive result for a first time resolution.
We believe that millions who live in poverty may face climate impacts and will depend on high emitting sectors to take action. The Pope’s 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, made a new moral call for attending to our common home. While Exxon Mobile provides vital energy services to the global economy, as the largest publicly traded oil company in the world and one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters globally, the company can play an important role in addressing climate change and providing leadership for the transition to a low-carbon economy. We are hopeful further conversation will change Exxon Mobil’s stance.
CBIS had previously filed a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction resolution at Exxon Mobil in advance of the company’s May 2015 annual meeting. Despite CBIS’ efforts to organize a Declare Your Vote initiative, the final vote was 9.6% in favor, in part due to changes at the largest proxy voting agency.