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Record Breaking Number of Oil Investors Back Climate Resolutions

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Climate-focused shareholders at ExxonMobil and Chevron were building up momentum before the oil giant’s Annual General Meetings (AGMs) yesterday. The investors proposed a number of climate change resolutions that highlighted the need to comply with rules set out by the Paris Agreement. Despite not gaining an overall majority, more shareholders (38.2%) than ever before voted for the changes, which campaigners hope will push the businesses into reviewing their climate risk strategies.

Edward Mason, Head of Responsible Investment for the Church Commissioners said: “We are delighted to have got the highest ever vote for a climate change proposal at an ExxonMobil AGM. This is a very significant shareholder revolt on climate change at Exxon.

“Considering the scale of this vote, we urge Exxon to sit down urgently with its investors to agree the reporting it will provide on the risk that climate change policy poses to its business. Following the Paris Agreement the time for climate risk reporting has well and truly arrived and the investor call for it is clear. It will not go away.”

Andrew Logan, Director of Oil & Gas Program, Ceres said: “Today’s strong votes at Exxon and Chevron send a powerful message that investors see climate change as a material financial risk, which underscores the ongoing momentum post-Paris and urgency to prepare for a low-carbon transition. Heading into the meeting, investors managing more than $10 trillion in assets voiced their support for these resolutions, placing substantial pressure on the boards of these companies to change direction as the world moves toward a low-carbon future.

“Given the significant resources Exxon spent fighting this proposal, such a strong vote is a real rebuke to company management. Investors have sent a clear message that meaningful 2˚C stress testing is the new normal, and companies like Exxon and Chevron can no longer act as if nothing has changed.

“Moving forward, investors expect Exxon and Chevron to come to the table and collaborate to prepare meaningful disclosures to assess the risks and opportunities presented by the energy transition.”

Paul Simpson, CDP’s chief executive officer at CDP said: “We congratulate the institutional investors – many of whom are CDP investor signatories – that spearheaded this resolution. They have put out the message loud and clear: climate change poses clear financial risks, and investors require better disclosure to be able to price those risks. The adoption of the Paris Agreement confirms that a transition to a low-carbon and sustainable economy is inevitable.

“Whilst the resolution did not gain a majority, ExxonMobil still has a clear duty to show its investors through improved disclosure how it will prepare for a transition to a below 2˚C economy. Our analysis shows that the companies which acknowledge, prepare for and tackle climate risks will be the ones that thrive in a transition to a low-carbon future.

“Now the ball is firmly in ExxonMobil’s court – the time has come for it to redefine its role in the global energy transition.” 

Rob Schuwerk, Senior Counsel for Carbon Tracker said: “An unprecedented number of Exxon’s shareholders have demanded that it analyse how a 2˚C transition will impact its business. Exxon must now meet this demand or confront a more wary investor class next year.” 

James Leaton, Research Director at Carbon Tracker said: “More of Exxon’s shareholders than ever decided to override board recommendations and demand 2˚C stress-testing.  The rest of the world is considering meeting the climate target and Exxon should join them by reporting on how its business model is impacted by that goal.” 

More than 15,000 people from 47 countries used Vote Your Pension to urge their pension providers to support the climate resolutions at the ExxonMobil and Chevron AGMs, contacting more than 1000 funds. The largest global shareholder engagement campaign is jointly run by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, SumofUs and ShareAction. They welcomed the overall majority at yesterday’s AGMs.

Julian Poulter, CEO of Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) said: “This is the beginning of the end for Exxon’s oil based strategy. Many of the world’s biggest investors have sent a clear message to Big Oil that they want a 2˚C business plan that shows how companies will deliver shareholder value in the transition to a low-carbon economy. The board must listen and take action or lose the confidence of shareholders.

“This is good news for the millions of ordinary people who own Exxon shares through their retirement savings. Exxon’s current business strategy risks either calamitous climate change or huge losses in value if global climate change action leaves it with huge reserves of oil and gas that cannot be burned. But it can still prosper in the low-carbon transition by turning itself into a diversified energy company.”

Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive of ShareAction said: “Exxon shareholders have spoken loud and clear: the company must do more to demonstrate its ability to transition its business for a 2˚C world. This vote demonstrates that the tide is turning on big oil; in order to retain the trust of shareholders and the public alike, Exxon must urgently adjust its business model for a low carbon future.”

Liz McDowell, Campaigns Director at SumOfUs: “Pension fund managers can no longer expect the individuals whose pay cheque deductions pay their salaries to sit quietly by while they support the status quo of accelerating climate change and wealth inequality.  New digital platforms like SumOfUs and VoteYourPension are facilitating the interaction of members with their pension funds on a scale never seen before. 

“Our members around the world are engaged and paying attention to how their funds are voting at Exxon and Chevron, because it’s their money and it should be their voice. More than 15,000 of our members contacted their funds to ask them to vote in favour of these resolutions, showing that they’ve struck a nerve.” 

Alex Scott, from Positive+Investment said: “It is heartening to see such a dramatic increase in support for these sorts of resolutions in such a short time, and it’s clear that COP21 in Paris has changed the conversation fundamentally.  It’s also important to remember that there are many employees of Exxon and Chevron who want to see a just transition to a low-carbon economy, and who want these companies to play a constructive role in that shift; we hope that they view these results as a cause for optimism as they work on the side of so many shareholders.”

David H. Zellner, Chief Investment Officer at Wespath who are co-filers of Chevron stress test resolution, said: “The energy sector must transition to renewable energy sources if we have any hope of mitigating the risks of climate change. Our resolution asks Chevron to conduct “stress tests” on its business of plausible scenarios resulting from shifting demand for fossil fuels and the impact of carbon taxes.  As investors, we need assurance that Chevron is strategically positioned for the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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