ExxonMobil Investors Again Seek Climate Risk Disclosures

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By Andrea Vittorio

Institutional investors managing $4 trillion in combined assets are again pressing ExxonMobil Corp. to provide more information on climate change-related risks to its business.

“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,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who oversees the third largest public pension fund in the U.S., said in a Feb. 23 statement. DiNapoli co-filed a shareholder resolution on the subject with the Church of England’s investment fund.

Peers ConocoPhillips Co. and Total SA have already done the kind of scenario analysis the Exxon investors are seeking. BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell also agreed to do so after earlier advocacy from the Church of England fund and other investors.

A similar submission didn’t get majority support from shareholders at Exxon’s last annual meeting in May, but it did get the highest vote (about 38 percent support) that the company has ever seen for a climate change proposal. Another proposal at Chevron Corp. did the same last year, with 41 percent support.

An ExxonMobil spokesman didn’t return a request for comment on the proposal. The energy giant’s board has advised shareholders to vote against the resolution in the past, saying the company already does enough to consider and address climate-related risks.

‘Extensive Engagement.’

“We believe Exxon’s board can and should support our reasonable disclosure request,” Edward Mason, head of responsible investment at the Church Commissioners for England, said in a statement.

The Church Commissioners said there has been “extensive engagement” between shareholders and Exxon since last year’s meeting. Other investors signing onto the proposal include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, HSBC Global Asset Management and Schroders.

Whether the company misled investors about potential climate impacts is the subject of an ongoing probe from attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at avittorio@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Yin Wilczek at ywilczek@bna.com

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