Exxon directors face shareholder revolt over climate change

Exxon has been criticised for its inadequate response to climate change. (Reuters pic)

NEW YORK: A group of Exxon Mobil shareholders launched a proxy fight against the oil giant’s directors after failing to get a climate proposal onto the ballot for the company’s annual meeting.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, led by New York State Controller Thomas DiNapoli, and the Church of England said they would vote against all Exxon directors at the company’s May 29 annual meeting and urged other shareholders to consider doing the same.

Exxon’s “inadequate response to climate change constitutes a serious failure of corporate governance,” they said in a filing Friday.

Scott Silvestri, an Exxon spokesman, didn’t have an immediate comment.

The investors, which said they are acting with the Climate Action 100+ group of investors who oversee US$32 trillion in assets, also urged shareholders to vote in favour of proposals for an independent chairman, the establishment of a climate change board committee and a report on lobbying.

The shareholders said they have engaged with Exxon on climate change and its greenhouse gas emissions since 2005 and the company has “failed to respond adequately” in contrast to peers, such as BP, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and Total SA.