A multipronged strategy from Mercy Investment Services and fellow shareholders to drive ExxonMobil to action on the climate received sizable support at the oil and gas company’s annual shareholder meeting. Shareholders elected three new board members with expertise in transitioning energy companies to clean energy. Typically directors are put forth by the company, but the new board members were nominated by a small socially responsible hedge fund. This election signals shareholders’ belief that adding this new expertise will drive the oil company to increase its investment in cleaner energy. In another strong signal of shareholder concern for the climate crisis, more than 60 percent of shareholders voted in favor of a resolution co-filed by Mercy Investment Services asking the company to report on how its lobbying activities align with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The strong votes at ExxonMobil came as shareholders saw other victories with oil and gas companies resulting from ongoing shareholder engagement. In late May, a Dutch court ruled that Shell must reduce emissions from its suppliers and consumers by 45 percent by 2030, which has been a focus of shareholder dialogues. At Chevron, 61 percent of shareholders voted in favor of the company setting a reduction target for its product emissions.
These vote results have been heralded by media as important indicators of increasing shareholder pressure for climate responsiveness. Mercy Investment Services will use this evidence to continue to press ExxonMobil and other oil and gas companies to take concrete steps to address the climate crisis in their business activities.