Press release from Church Commissioners–major move towards corporate transparency on climate change

Victory for ExxonMobil shareholders as climate change disclosure resolution receives majority support despite company opposition
A majority of ExxonMobil shareholders have voted in favour of a motion asking the company to report on how its business will be affected by worldwide efforts to combat climate change, with 62.3% of shareholders voting in favour despite strong opposition from the company itself.
The resolution, filed by the Church Commissioners for England and New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, asks Exxon to report on how its business model will be affected by global efforts to limit the average rise in temperatures to below 2-degrees Celsius. The result comes despite strong efforts by the company to oppose the motion, and represents a hugely significant victory for investors who want Exxon to report on climate disclosure in line with its peers.
Edward Mason, Head of Responsible Investment for the Church Commissioners, said “This is a historic vote – despite strong opposition from the Board, the majority of Exxon’s shareholders have sent an unequivocal signal to the company that it must do much more to disclose the impact on its business of measures to combat climate change. We are grateful to all of the investors who supported the proposal, and we call on the company to begin urgent engagement with shareholders on how to bring its disclosures in line with those of its peers.”
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, said “This is an unprecedented victory for investors in the fight to ensure a smooth transition to a low carbon economy. Climate change is one of the greatest long-term risks we face in our portfolio and has direct impact on the core business of ExxonMobil. The burden is now on ExxonMobil to respond swiftly and demonstrate that it takes shareholder concerns about climate risk seriously.”
Last year 38% of shareholders voted in favour of the same resolution, already the highest ever vote for a climate change proposal at an ExxonMobil AGM.
Institutional investors with over $5trn of assets under management between them pre-declared their support for the co-filed the motion ahead of today’s meeting, including major fund managers and pension funds Amundi, APG (on behalf of ABP, bpfBouw and PPF APG), AXA Investment Management, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, CalPERS, Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Fund, Fonds de Solidarité des Travailleurs du Québec, Hermes EOS, HSBC Global Asset Management, MN (including on behalf of PMT and PME), New York City Pension Funds and Schroders, Vermont Pension Investment Committee and over 30 faith-based institutional investors.
Investors with a further $7trn of assets under management pre-declared their support for the proposal, including Aegon Asset Management, Aviva Investors, Legal & General Investment Management and Natixis Asset Management. The world’s two leading independent proxy advisors, ISS and Glass Lewis, also supported the proposal.
Several of Exxon’s peers including BP, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell and Total have endorsed 2-degree scenario analysis, as has the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, established by Mark Carney as FSB Chair. Major asset managers such as BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors have called for improved climate risk disclosures. Moody’s Global Rating now includes scenarios for lower global carbon emissions tied to lower demand for fossil fuels when it rates companies in high risk areas like the energy industry.