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Large U.S.-based institutional investors in Big Oil have this year refused to back climate-related resolutions tabled at the companies’ general meetings.
Per a Reuters report, at the AGMs of the five largest oil companies, shareholders including BlackRock, JP Morgan, Vanguard, and State Street all voted against climate resolutions.
In Europe, however, the situation was very different. Per activist investor group Follow This, big oil investors including Amundi, UBS, HSBC, and Allianz, had voted in favor of the climate resolutions that the group put forward at this year’s Big Oil shareholder meetings.
"Investors hold the key to tackling the climate crisis with their shareholder voting power at Big Oil. Amundi, Allianz, and UBS use their voting power to mitigate the climate crisis,” Fllow This founder Mark van Baal said in a news release from Follow This.
“Most of their peers enable oil majors to continue to cause climate breakdown by voting against climate resolutions,” van Baal added.
There has indeed been a change in large investor sentiment towards climate resolutions at Big Oil and, indeed, elsewhere. BlackRock, for example, has sharply reduced its support for climate resolutions, the FT reported in August, with CEO Larry Fink slamming politicians for weaponizing ESG.
Also earlier this year, Exxon and Chevron saw fewer investors vote for climate resolutions at their meetings, with Exxon seeing all climate resolutions tabled at this year’s shareholders’ meeting rejected overwhelmingly.
“In our view, this proposal reflects the proponent’s underlying objective to reduce the supply of oil and natural gas at a time in the energy transition when there is no viable alternative at scale. It is overly prescriptive and incorrectly applies a metric that is intended to measure society’s progress in reducing emissions to an individual company,” Exxon said at the time.
Indeed, this change in sentiment among investors might reflect a realization that there is no viable alternative to oil, gas, and even coal, at scale, as evidenced quite clearly by energy developments in Europe, and especially Germany, over the past two years.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.