ExxonMobil can’t ignore climate change — because it’s bad business.
It’s a bizarre world where massive financial institutions and oil companies offer more hope for climate action than the president, but that’s where we are — welcome!
On Wednesday, a (very tame) uprising broke out at the ExxonMobil shareholders meeting in Dallas. A majority — 62 percent — of the company’s investor institutions voted for Exxon to examine how climate policies and changing consumer behavior will affect its assets. The resolution called for a comprehensive annual report on climate and its business. ExxonMobil’s leading shareholders are the investment management companies BlackRock and Vanguard, which collectively control over $9 trillion of the world’s assets.
The shareholders’ resolution doesn’t vibe, to put it lightly, with ExxonMobil’s management. Last year, according to The Guardian, only 38 percent of shareholders supported the same resolution.
New York Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, representing the New York Common Retirement Fund (an ExxonMobil shareholder), said in a statement: “Climate change is one of the greatest long-term risks we face in our portfolio and has direct impact on the core business of ExxonMobil. The burden is now on ExxonMobil to respond swiftly and demonstrate that it takes shareholder concerns about climate risk seriously.”
Psst — if you want to get your own financial institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies, here’s a good start.