Exxon vote shows Wall Street diverging from Donald Trump on climate change
Major investors have advised US industry on Wednesday that climate change is important, even as reports surfaced that President Donald Trump plans to withdraw the United States from an international pact to fight global warming. A number of large corporate institutional funds, including BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, supported a shareholders’ resolution asking Exxon Mobil Corp to share more information on how new technologies and regulations on climate change could have An impact on the activities of the largest public oil company in the world published.
The proposal was supported by 62.3 percent of the votes. Victory over a wide margin was hailed by climate activists as a turning point in its decades-long campaign to encourage oil and gas companies to reveal how they would adapt to a low-carbon economy.
Activists argue that US companies should be more transparent about the impact of global warming, even if the United States withdrew from the Paris climate agreement in 2015, as Trump promised during his presidential campaign.
“Economic forces beyond any other consideration,” said Anne Simpson, director of investments for sustainability of the pension system for employees in California Advertising, one of the sponsors of the resolution. She attributes large investors to Exxon for change, since at least some of them changed their votes after last year, while a similar measure only earns 38% support. “We have seen a radical change in their views,” he said. Many high-level investors now consider their vote on shareholders’ proposals “on merit, instead of considering it as a test of leadership loyalty,” he said.
Among Exxon’s major investors, Vanguard Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc. opposed the call last year for reports on climate change. A Vanguard spokesman, who holds about 7 percent of Exxon shares, declined to comment on his vote this year. A person familiar with the matter said that funds managed by BlackRock, which contain about 6 percent of Exxon’s shares, voted in favor of the climate resolution. Do not expect the documents that indicate your exact votes for months. However, fund companies and others have taken action since last year to facilitate the support of climate resolutions. A spokesman for ninth investor Exxon Northern Trust Corp. Doug Holt said he had voted in favor of the proposal, citing its own updated guidelines in 2016.
The focus of investment firms reflects a new interest in climate issues among their own investors, who have made money in ‘green’ investment funds and other vehicles using environmental factors in their actions.
Wall Street priorities have changed the terms of the debate over a number of other energy and utilities companies. Most shareholders voting for Occidental Petroleum Corp. and PPL Corp. requested similar reports on the risks of climate change. Voting for the other two measures is planned for June 7 at Devon Energy Corp. and Hess Corp. in
Michael Crosby, who participates in the education of members of the Capuchin Franciscan Midwest, said Wednesday’s vote was a rejection of Exxon’s arguments, which already provides sufficient details about his prospects. “The street is, you need to give better evidence,” Crosby said.
Once the measure adopted, Exxon CEO Darren Woods said his board reconsidered its climate communications. Activists are now faced with the task of maintaining alliances with leaders such as timbers opposed to their resolutions, but in some cases supported by the Paris agreement of 195 countries. Exxon said in a March 22 letter to the White House that the Paris agreement was “an effective framework to address the risks of climate change.”