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Investors push Exxon Mobil to set greenhouse gas reduction targets

A group of institutional investors, led by the New York State Common Retirement Fund and the Church of England's investment fund, filed a shareholder resolution asking Exxon Mobil Corp. to disclose and establish greenhouse gas reduction targets for its operations and products.

"Exxon Mobil's lack of GHG emissions reduction targets puts it at odds with its industry peers that have taken such steps," said Thomas P. DiNapoli, the New York State comptroller and sole trustee of the $213.2 billion pension fund, in a news release Monday. As of Nov. 30, the Albany-based fund held 10.58 million shares of Exxon Mobil common stock with a value of $841.5 million.

"The world is transitioning to a lower carbon future and Exxon needs to demonstrate its ability to adapt or risk its bottom line along with investors' confidence," added Mr. DiNapoli, whose news release said the institutional investors supporting this resolution have combined assets of approximately $1.9 trillion. The resolution will be presented at the company's next annual meeting.

"We want to see Exxon Mobil develop a clear strategy for long-term sustainability, in line with international commitments for a safer climate," Edward Mason, head of responsible investment for the Church Commissioners, the Church of England investment fund, said in the same news release. "Our request would bring Exxon in line with its biggest European peer, Shell, and we believe the board can and should support it." The Church Commissioners manages 8.3 billion ($10.6 billion), the news release said.

The resolution calls on Exxon Mobil to "set short-, medium- and long-term" greenhouse gas targets "aligned with the goals established by the Paris Agreement to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees, and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees," the news release said.