The New York City pension funds and other filers agreed to withdraw a shareholder proposal at Exxon Mobil Corp. after the company consented to increase disclosure about public and environmental risks associated with its hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.
The New York City Retirement Systems, which have a combined $145 billion in assets, was a lead co-filer of the proposal with the $310 million Park Foundation, Ithaca, N.Y., which engaged the As You Sow Foundation, an environmental advocacy group, to work on its behalf on the Exxon Mobil issue.
The proposal called for Exxon Mobil to disclose quantitative data on how it manages the risks from its fracking operations.
“Exxon Mobil is responding to shareowners on issues that are critical to its long-term sustainability,” said Scott M. Stringer, New York City comptroller who oversees investments of the five city retirement funds, in a statement jointly issued by his office and As You Sow. “We have seen the significant risks that come from hydraulic fracturing activities. Corporate transparency in this arena is truly necessary for assessing risk and ensuring that all stakeholders have the information they need to make informed decisions.”
Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, said in the statement: “Exxon's shift toward disclosure and transparency is important, especially in light of how long investors have been asking for this information from the company.”
Shareholders have been seeking disclosure in proposals at the company for each of the last five years, Ms. Fugere said in an interview.
Alan Jeffers, Exxon Mobil media relations manager, couldn't be reached for comment.
The five New York City funds — Employees' Retirement System, Teachers' Retirement System, Police Pension Fund, Fire Department Pension Fund and the Board of Education Retirement System — held a combined 10.5 million Exxon Mobil shares valued at $1.02 billion as of April 1, according to the statement.
The other co-filers of the proposal are Green Century Capital Management; Zevin Asset Management; Congregation of Divine Providence Inc.; Congregation des Soeurs des Saints Noms de Jesus et de Marie; Northwest Women Religious Investment Trust; Providence Trust; Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S.-Ontario Province; Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas; Benedictine Sisters of Baltimore; Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia; Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province; and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.