Investors pull Exxon Mobil climate resolution after it promises public response

Company says it will issue open letter on climate questions, according to shareholders.

US investors in Exxon Mobil, the oil major, have withdrawn a shareholder resolution asking for a report on climate change assumptions used in strategic planning from the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) proxy on March 5, after the company said it would take the positive step of openly addressing the investor questions prior to the gathering. The resolution, which had been drawn up by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation and Zevin Asset Management, was pulled after the investors said they held fruitful talks with Exxon Mobil executives who said they would issue a public letter by the end of March addressing the issues raised. The investors had requested that Exxon Mobil report on whether it looked at projections of global temperature increases over the next 35 years and what use this was in its strategic planning. They cited Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil CEO, who when asked about climate change previously, has said that Exxon Mobil’s approach is to “look at the range of the outcomes and try and understand the consequences of that.”Tillerson is also on record as saying that Exxon believes climate change will be countered by engineering solutions. To that end, the investors requested a response on the kinds of solutions the company is expecting and whether it is taking its own steps to develop any.
The Exxon Chief has also suggested that a “Plan B” on climate change would be necessary if current climate change mitigation steps by companies and governments are not effective. The investors asked what Exxon Mobil’s Plan B is, and any risk management steps the company is taking or planning to address climate change. The investors said Exxon had been very responsive to their concerns. At its 2013 AGM in Dallas, Exxon faced eight shareholder resolutions on a variety of environmental and governance issues, including representation from the New York City Pension Funds, all of which it resisted.
Exxon Mobil could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.