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Proposal to report on methane emissions supported by 45% of Chevron shareholders

Despite failing to gain a majority of investor votes, a shareholder proposal calling on Chevron Corp. to report about its efforts to minimize methane emissions was supported by roughly 45% of shareholders at the company's annual meeting, according to voting results the energy company provided in a news release.

Large pension funds that supported the proposal at the company's annual meeting Wednesday included the $352.8 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento; $224.8 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento; $146 billion Texas Teacher Retirement System, Austin; C$356.1 billion ($274 billion) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Toronto; C$189.5 billion Ontario Teachers' Retirement System, Toronto; and the $204.9 billion Florida State Board of Administration, Tallahassee. A similar proposal was supported by 50.25% of shareholders at Range Resources Corp. last month.

The Chevron proposal was filed by non-profit shareholder advocacy group As You Sow.

All six pension funds also supported a lobbying disclosure proposal, while five — CalPERS, CalSTRS, Ontario Teachers, CPPIB and FSBA — supported a proposal calling for an independent board chair.

Several of the funds — CalPERS, Texas Teachers, FSBA and CPPIB — also supported a proposal calling for Chevron to appoint an independent director with environmental expertise.

The three proposals also failed to receive majority support, with opposition levels ranging from 74% to 68%.

Proxy-voting advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that investors support the methane emissions, lobbying disclosure and environmental expertise proposals.

In a Wednesday news release, As You Sow acknowledged that in the days leading up to Chevron's meeting, the company responded to shareholders' concerns by providing an intensity rate for its methane emissions in its corporate responsibility report and by signing on to industry "guiding principles" for reducing methane emissions. However, Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, went on to say in the group's release that "joining a voluntary program like the 'guiding principles' is no substitute for demonstrated methane reduction action."

"Chevron has lagged behind its peers on implementing and disclosing methane best practices for too long. Shareholders today recognize Chevron's progress, but underscore the importance of demonstrating on-the-ground change on this important climate change issue," Ms. Fugere said.

"Reducing methane emissions makes good environmental and business sense," a Chevron spokesman said in an emailed statement. "Our board will include the vote result, as well as the feedback we receive from our ongoing engagement with stockholders, to inform and guide our continued focus and action in this important area, as demonstrated by Chevron becoming a signatory to the Methane Guiding Principles."