US oil majors reject climate change proposals

Briefly: Shareholders of ExxonMobil and Chevron, the two largest US oil companies, rejected climate-focussed resolutions at their annual meetings on Wednesday (31 May).

And the votes weren’t even close. Around 10% of both ExxonMobil and Chevron shareholders supported proposals to align emissions targets with the 2015 Paris Agreement. Only one of the dozen proposals at Exxon (on reporting its methane emissions) received more than 20% support.

And momentum seems to be slipping: last year, 28% and 33% of Exxon and Chevron shareholders (respectively) supported Paris-alignment proposals.

Intrigue’s take: Remember what investing was like in 2020/2021? Meme stocks, crypto, animatronic apes… it was wild. But elsewhere, another approach was booming: environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

This latest news out of Chevron and Exxon suggests maybe ESG momentum is fading. And yet, we only just wrote about how solar investment will surpass oil investment this year for the first time. So… what’s happening?

Capital is peering into the future: some (like solar investors) see a green future just around the corner; others (like oil and gas shareholders) think it’s still a way off. And either way, their decisions today will shape the future we get.

Also worth noting:

  • A shareholder activist group behind this week’s proposals, Follow Thissaid it was “incomprehensible that most investors still accept the US super majors’ refusal to cut emissions this decade.”
  • Support for climate-focussed proposals among European shareholders has been marginally higher: in recent weeks, around 20% of Shell and BP shareholders voted to accelerate transition plans.
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