Norwegian sovereign wealth fund votes against Chevron and Exxonmobil


London
CNN

The world’s largest stock market investor wants ExxonMobil and Chevron to do more to tackle the climate crisis.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, which holds $1.4 trillion in assets, said on Friday it would back calls for US oil companies to set more aggressive emissions reduction targets.

He said he would support motions proposed by climate activist group Follow This at the companies’ annual shareholder meetings next Wednesday. ExxonMobil and Chevron (CVX) urged shareholders to reject them.

Follow This has called on companies, as well as European oil majors BP (BP), Shell (RDSA) and TotalEnergies (TOT), to set themselves more ambitious targets for reducing their “scope 3” emissions by the end of the decade. These emissions include greenhouse gases emitted when their products, such as gasoline, jet fuel and natural gas, are used by customers.

The group says the revised targets would better align businesses with the Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Mark van Baal, the founder of Follow This, told CNN the Norwegian fund had a “huge responsibility”, adding that it was surprising that it had not taken similar action against European energy companies during their shareholder meetings.

“Basically they’re saying to Shell, BP and Total: you don’t have to reduce your emissions this decade. We expect them to correct this oversight next year,” he said.

The fund did not vote with campaigners against BP and Shell at their last annual general meetings, held last month and last week respectively.

Explaining the move, a spokesperson told CNN on Friday that BP and Shell explained how their “scope 3” goals align with the Paris Agreement.

“While the goals of these three companies differ, they all demonstrate industry-leading ambitions,” the spokesperson added.

The Norwegian fund also did not participate in a shareholder rebellion at TotalEnergies’ annual meeting in Paris on Friday, which saw 30% vote in favor of a climate resolution proposed by Follow This. The group said the vote matched a revolt it led at Shell’s 2021 shareholders’ meeting.

ExxonMobil, which has not set “scope 3″ goals, said in a letter to shareholders last month that such goals would encourage oil and gas companies to divest their assets, thereby reducing product offerings.” that society needs”.

“Make no mistake about it, we are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the company said.

Chevron is aiming to cut its carbon emissions by 5% over the next five years from 2016, a target that covers “scope 3” emissions, but has urged shareholders to reject activist proposals.

The proposal “would require curtailing Chevron’s operations,” the company said in a letter to shareholders last month.

In a statement to CNN, Chevron said its “scope 3 emissions approach allows it to maintain or expand its oil and gas business in response to market demand,” while “still meeting its intent to reduce emissions.” ’emission intensity’.

ExxonMobil did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the voting intentions of Norway’s wealth fund, which is funded by the country’s vast oil and gas revenues. It holds shares in more than 9,200 companies in 63 countries, with total stakes of $790 billion.

It has a 0.86% stake in Chevron and a 1.13% stake in ExxonMobil, according to the fund’s latest data.

In its Friday statement, the fund also said it was calling on Chevron CEO Mike Wirth and ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods to step down as chairmen of the companies’ boards because he felt that the lead roles should be taken by two different people.

“The board should exercise objective judgment about the affairs of the company and be able to make decisions independently of management,” the fund said on its website.

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