Exxon Mobil Corp. shareholders voted against a proposal calling for climate-change risk reporting and an independent chairman but did approve a proxy-access proposal, said a webcast of the company’s shareholder meeting Wednesday.
The climate-reporting proposal, which called for an annual assessment of the long-term impact of climate-change policies on the company’s operations, was rejected by 61.8% of shareholders at the meeting.
The $178.3 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, sponsored the climate-reporting proposal co-filed by the London-based Church of England, whose assets total £6.7 billion ($9.6 billion); the $51.7 billion University of California Retirement Plan, Oakland; the $4 billion Vermont Retirement Systems, Montpelier; and other institutional investors.
A news release from the office of Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state comptroller and sole trustee of the New York state pension fund, said the 38.2% of shareholders supporting the resolution was a record level of support for a climate-change resolution at an Exxon Mobil annual meeting.
“A significant number of Exxon shareholders want the company to step up when it comes to climate change,” said Pete Grannis, first deputy comptroller, said in the news release. “Exxon has a responsibility to its investors to explain how it can adjust its business to meet the global effort to reduce fossil-fuel consumption. Investors need to know that Exxon is taking steps to protect its long-term value.”
Meanwhile, a proxy-access resolution, which would enable a shareholder or a group of shareholders that hold a combined 3% of the company’s shares for three years to nominate up to 25% of the 14-member Exxon Mobil board of directors, was approved by 61.9% of shareholders.
The sponsor of the resolution was the $154 billion New York City Retirement Systems.
“Investors have sent a message that they want a meaningful voice in electing who sits on Exxon Mobil’s board,” said Scott M. Stringer, New York City comptroller and fiduciary for the city pension funds, in a news release. “This vote is the signal event of the proxy season and a watershed moment for Exxon Mobil’s shareowners. If this company is to properly address fundamental long-term risks like climate change, its board of directors must be diverse, independent and accountable. I urge the board to move quickly, engage directly with shareowners and enact proxy access.”
Finally, a resolution proposing the adoption of a company policy to require an independent chairman was rejected by 61.2% of shareholders.
Proxy-voting firm Glass Lewis had recommended institutional investor clients vote in favor of all three proposals, while Exxon Mobil opposed them.