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Investors Renew Call on Exxon to Address Climate Risk

Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

Coalition Representing $4 Trillion in Assets Asks Exxon How It Will Be Impacted by a Lower Carbon Future

A coalition of institutional investors, led by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, as trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF), and the Church of England investment fund, have again asked ExxonMobil to report how its business will be impacted by global efforts to mitigate climate change.

The CRF and the Church of England filed a similar proposal for consideration at Exxon's 2016 annual meeting. Despite Exxon's unsuccessful attempt to exclude the proposal from a vote at the meeting, it received support from 38.2% of voting shareholders, a record for a climate change resolution at the company.

"As investors, we are concerned that, unlike many of its peers, Exxon has not taken the steps necessary to demonstrate its resilience in a lower carbon future," DiNapoli said. "We want to know what Exxon's strategy is for continued profitability as governments around the world live up to their commitment to the Paris Agreement 2 degree scenario."

The CRF and the Church of England are currently engaged in ongoing discussions with Exxon regarding their shareholder request.

"While our discussions have been positive, Exxon has not committed to provide the 2 degree scenario analysis investors expect from the oil and gas majors, and we have therefore again co-filed the New York State Comptroller's resolution," said Edward Mason, Head of Responsible Investment at the Church Commissioners. "We believe Exxon's board can and should support our reasonable disclosure request."

"After more than two decades of pressing ExxonMobil on climate change, this year dozens of institutional members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility are adding momentum to the efforts of New York State and the Church of England by co-filing this resolution," said Dominican Sister Patricia Daly of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, a representative of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

A number of investors are co-filing the proposal, including the New York City Retirement Systems, CalPERS and other U.S. and European investors. A list of co-filers is available here.

Exxon has acknowledged that regulatory frameworks already adopted and others under consideration could reduce demand for its products, make them more expensive, and delay the implementation of its projects. Several of Exxon's peers including BP, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell and Total have endorsed 2 degree scenario analysis. Major asset managers such as BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors have called for improved climate risk disclosures. Moody's Global Rating now includes scenarios for lower global carbon emissions tied to lower demand for fossil fuels when it rates companies in high risk areas like the energy industry.

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