Shareholders pushed Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. on Wednesday to report on climate change-related public health risks of petrochemical operations and welcomed an announcement by Southern Co. that it has set a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The actions happened at the companies' respective annual meetings Wednesday.
According to preliminary results, 46% of investors voted to support a shareholder resolution at Chevron and 25% voted to support a similar one at Exxon. Filed by shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, the resolutions call for Exxon and Chevron to report on the public health risks of expanding their petrochemical operations in areas increasingly prone to climate change-induced storms, flooding, and sea level rise. The same proposal received a majority 54.7% vote at Phillips 66 earlier this month.
As You Sow President Danielle Fugere said efforts to have the companies report on future plans to reduce their carbon footprint have been challenged by Exxon and Chevron, which "continue to give lip service to the goals of the Paris Agreement, while failing to clarify for investors if or how they will reduce their emissions in alignment with the Paris Agreement's critical 1.5 degree Celsius goal," Ms. Fugere said in a statement.
Shareholders at Southern Co.'s annual stockholder meeting praised the electricity producer's move to adopt a net-zero-emissions goal in response to investor engagement through Climate Action 100 Plus and the Net-Zero Investor Coalition. "Southern's commitment to net zero is an important milestone for the company and the industry — and it affirms the value of engagement between shareholders and companies, as our investor group, with the support of Ceres and Majority Action, has led a constructive dialogue with the company," Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said in a statement.