Follow This and ACCR file climate proposal at Norway’s state-backed Equinor

The former Statoil is 67% owned by the Norwegian state.

Follow This, the group known for filing climate resolutions at Shell, and the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, have co-filed a shareholder proposal at Equinor, the oil firm formerly known as Statoil that is majority owned by the Norwegian state.

The proposal follows on the heels
of those recently filed at Shell and BP which offer the companies shareholder support to set and publish Paris-aligned and long-term targets to reach the ‘well below’ 2°C goal.

Those targets should also acknowledge scope 3 emissions, i.e. operations and use of its energy products, the proposal states.

Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This, highlighted that the proposals at Shell, BP and Equinor are almost a verbatim version of the one filed at ExxonMobil by Climate Action 100+ this week.

“The fact that large institutional investors are now asking for the same things as Follow This since 2017 is great news for the fight against climate change,” Van Baal said.

He told RI that the combination of engagement and shareholder proposals delivers results. As such, he said that those institutional investors who support the proposal at ExxonMobil will have good reasons to vote for at the AGMs of BP, Shell and Equinor.

Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment at ACCR, told RI that setting and publishing Paris-aligned targets shows transparency, accountability and leadership.

“This is the minimum we should expect from Equinor. The world’s carbon majors need a radical transformation and setting necessary targets is the first step.”

Gocher added: “ACCR has already taken action with BHP and Rio Tinto and we are working with our global partners to make every carbon major a target.”

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy is Equinor’s majority shareholder with a 67% stake.A spokesperson told RI the all shareholder proposals would be considered at the AGM. “As such, we will not comment on specific proposals before the general assembly has taken place.”

The second largest shareholder with 3.3% is Folketrygdfondet, Norway’s $29bn national government pension fund.

Similarly, the fund would begin to consider how it plans to vote once the final agenda for the AGM is issued, according to Annie Bersagel, Senior Analyst, Responsible Investment.

Norwegian mutual insurer and pension fund manager KLP is also among the shareholders, with 0.5% of capital. Marte Siri Storaker, Advisor, Responsible Investments, told RI that it would be difficult to provide a voting intention at the moment.

“In general, we have voted for shareholder proposals that ask for more disclosure and reporting on climate policies and emissions. However, we generally vote against shareholder proposals that are too prescriptive,” she said.

Equinor and Climate Action 100+ were not immediately available for comment.

The Ministry of Finance last week published a report on the climate resilience of the Norwegian economy commissioned from the Climate Risk Commission, which recommended government to endorse the TCFD recommendations to understand climate risk at company and investor levels.

The Commission is chaired by Martin Skancke, who also chairs the Principles for Responsible Investment.

Its experts were appointed on October 2017, a month before Norges Bank recommended the removal of oil and gas stocks from the benchmark index of the 1 trillion-dollar Government Pension Fund Global.

In August this year, a different Expert Commission advised against such divestment.