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Exxon is trying to block an investor initiative seeking to force the supermajor to commit to a reduction in harmful emissions, two of these investors told Reuters. The company, the Financial Times reported earlier, had written to the Securities and Exchange Commission calling the investor initiative misleading and saying it was trying to “micro-manage” the business.
The investors whose spokespeople talked to Reuters about Exxon’s letter to SEC were the endowment fund of the Church of England and the New York State pension fund.
“Trying to strike out a shareholder proposal from institutional investors with a fiduciary responsibility to manage climate risk is an outdated reflex,” an official for the Church of England fund said in a statement.
“Exxon is trying to deny shareholders’ right to vote on a significant climate risk concern,” the New York State Comptroller and manager of the state’s pension fund, Thomas DiNapoli, said. DiNapoli is at the helm of the investor group insisting on Exxon pledging to reduce its carbon footprint.
The Financial Times, which reported on Exxon’s letter earlier on Sunday, quoted another shareholder in the company, the state employee pension fund of California, as saying the issue should be discussed with shareholders rather than Exxon going to thevSEC for help. “The SEC should not be in the role of muffler to important debate,” Calpers said in a statement. The fund is also part of the shareholder group that is pressing Exxon for commitments in the emissions reduction area.
Exxon is not the only supermajor that is being targeted by shareholders to do more about climate change. Shell and BP have already made pledges along the lines of more transparent emissions reporting and commitments to reduce these substantially in the coming years. Chances are Exxon will be forced to join the group as the investors pushing for a change manage a combined US$1.9 trillion.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.