A number of major oil and gas giants are holding their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) this week. It is expected that many of the AGMs will be used as rallying point for investors and shareholders passionate about the climate agenda. Industry businesses will be urged to accept climate resolutions and join the battle to stop global warming and climate change following the signing of the Paris Agreement last month.
Commenting ahead of a shareholder statement to be presented at Shell’s AGM today Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of IIGCC – the European voice of investor solutions on climate change representing 122 pension funds and asset managers with €13 trillion AUM, said: “This week is the climax of the 2016 proxy season for investor shareholders active on the climate agenda with a statement at Shell’s AGM tomorrow and a suite of resolutions at Exxon and Chevron tomorrow designed to test how far and how swiftly the oil majors are willing to set about transforming their business models to align with the transition to a low carbon economy.
“The Paris Agreement has generated great momentum in the investor community to address climate change in investment processes and decision-making. The appetite for action to curb carbon asset risk has already been widely seen, not least when a motion tabled by the ‘Aiming 4 A’ investor initiative at the AGM of mining giant Glencore on 19 May earned overwhelming (98 per cent) support.
“Investors will be watching closely to see whether these companies are prepared to make capital allocation decisions to ensure that assets do not become stranded as changes in policy, technology developments and demand trends all challenge traditional business models.”
Matt Crossman, ethical research and engagement analyst at Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and member Rathbone Greenbank Investments will read a statement at the Shell AGM endorsed by over 30 European and US institutional investors managing over $5 trillion in assets.
Matt Crossman said: “Whilst asset owners and managers applaud the progress made by Shell since the climate resolution passed in 2015, investors like ourselves need the board to give assurances that shareholder concerns regarding the climate resilience of the company’s business model and the climate related material risks to shareholder value will continue to be addressed going forward. We look forward to continuing to work with the company to develop its response even further. Only then will the interest of shareholders, management and wider society be aligned.”