Update, 31 May: A record 62% of investors have supported the resolution to disclose a 2°C pathway.

Robert Schuwerk, US Senior Counsel, said:

“This extraordinary result, on the heels of the majority Occidental vote, indicates growing institutional investor concern.  The vote foreshadows what is likely to materialise as recommendations on climate risk disclosure by the TCFD chaired by Michael Bloomberg and Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Climate change is now front and center in investors’ engagement.  As Exxon is a standard bearer for the oil and gas industry, smaller companies should take note and respond accordingly.”

30 May, London

International investors will vote tomorrow on a proposal that will compel Exxon Mobil to disclose how it is managing climate change risk and how the international agreement to limit warming to 2˚C hammered out in Paris will affect its business and long-term investment decisions. Big energy companies are under increasing pressure from investors to disclose how rising global temperatures and mitigating associated climate risks may impact them.

This could be a watershed vote. The main climate resolution (Item 12) is tabled by the New York State Comptroller. Blackrock and Vanguard will play a crucial role. They are the company’s largest shareholders and voted against the resolution in 2016, when it gained 38.1% of votes in favour.

Only a few weeks ago a majority of Occidental Petroleum’s shareholders (67%)  approved a resolution calling for the company to produce an assessment of the long-term business implications of climate change, marking the first time more than 50% of shareholders at an oil and gas company voted in favour of such a proposal against management recommendations.

Please find below a short statement ahead of the vote.

Carbon Tracker staff will also be available for comment following the vote on Wednesday. 

Mark Campanale, founder & executive director, said:

“Carbon Tracker has long held that most fossil fuels have to stay in the ground for us to achieve the Paris accord goals of avoiding 2˚C of warming. Every company will now have to compete to see if their projects fit within the constraints imposed by the science of ‘carbon budgets’. Not every company, not every project can be winners.

“The Exxon shareholder resolution typifies how shareholders want to understand each company’s relative position in the future global supply of fossil fuels. High-cost producers won’t survive and investors need to know how viable Exxon’s business model is in a carbon-constrained world. We estimate that Exxon will be spending $70 billion over the next decade on projects at the wrong end of the cost curve that are unneeded in a 2˚C scenario.

“The unprecedented majority votes at Occidental and PPL in favor of a 2˚C scenario analysis and against management’s wishes demonstrate that the issue is material to investors and the markets need useful, forward-looking scenario analysis of the world’s climate objectives.

“In the sea of  information overload for investors, neat objective comparability is king.  Disclosure of the type the resolution calls for is essential for investors to make sensible capital allocation decisions. A successful resolution simply reinforces the FSB Task Force on climate risk and the important role that regulators can play in ensuring a sufficient level of standardization and comparability of such disclosures.”

Robert Schuwerk, US senior counsel, said: 

“The unprecedented shareholder votes at Occidental and PPL, where more than half of the votes cast asked for the companies to conduct two-degree scenario analysis, demonstrates that US investors recognize that the direction of travel is towards a low-carbon future, regardless of the US administration’s efforts to scupper the process.  Indeed, in our view increased uncertainty on the policy front will only lead to greater investor interest in fostering an orderly transition.”

“Just as the push for proxy access — the shareholder right to nominate board members to be included in the company proxy — started with a trickle and overwhelmed management opposition, we may see the same tide turning against bosses on a 2˚C scenario analysis.

“Some company climate risk reports, such as Chevron’s, may have bought the company some additional time but we should not forget that Exxon also issued a report in 2014 and because of its shortcomings, is now facing a revolt on the issue.  This demonstrates that for many investors, this is not about the company simply ‘checking the box.'”


  • Exxon issued a rebuttal to the proxy firms’ advice on May 19th where the oil major writes: “While we acknowledge the opinions of the proxy advisory firms, we disagree with the conclusions in their respective reports in a number of areas, including those addressed in this letter. Attached are further perspectives on two of the proposals in our Proxy: Item 3 – Advisory Vote to Approve Executive Compensation and Item 12 – Report on Impacts of Climate Change Policies that respond to the proxy advisory firms’ reports.”

The London-based Carbon Tracker Initiative is a team of financial specialists identifying and analysing climate risk in today’s financial markets. The think-thanks research to date on ‘unburnable carbon’, the ‘carbon bubble’, and stranded assets has ignited a new global debate on how to align the financial system with the energy transition to a low carbon future.