Interesting thing is happening at energy company shareholder meetings

An interesting development occurred at annual shareholder meetings of two major companies in the energy business – PPL Corp, a utility serving Pennsylvania and other states and Occidental Petroleum Corp. A shareholder instigated vote took place at each firm and passed over the recommendations against it by their Boards of Directors. The proposal is for each company to share formally a report on what they intend to do about climate change.

Per the website “Financial Advisor” the following was reported earlier this month about the Occidental vote:

“The proposal received the backing of Occidental’s largest shareholder, $5.4 trillion asset manager BlackRock Inc. BlackRock, which owns a 7.8 percent stake in the oil explorer, said it took action due to the “lack of response” on the issue by the company and a lack of improvement in its climate-change related reporting following a similar proposal last year which received more than 40 percent support.”

The shareholder proposals are at the impetus of CalPERS, one of the largest pension trust funds in the world and a major investor in each company. Other state pension trust funds are supportive of CalPERS’ push. A similar vote was taken recently at Royal Dutch Shell and was defeated, with another vote scheduled at ExxonMobil. It should be noted that institutional investor groups are recommending against these proposals, but two have passed.

With a White House at odds with the rest of the world on climate change, we will need a groundswell of advocacy. Fortunately, we are passed the tipping point on renewable energy due to falling prices and rapidly increasing jobs. And, some of these same companies are advocating the US stay in the Paris Climate Change accord. Yet, the US cannot leave the table. To assure that we remain, we need these kinds of shareholder votes and other advocacies.

The White House has now canceled two meetings to discuss the future of our involvement in the Paris Climate Change. I believe this is in reaction to the push back from business. We cannot backtrack on this and other environmental issues. Let’s push forward and, if the President does not want to play a role, we and the rest of the world can leave him behind.


19 thoughts on “Interesting thing is happening at energy company shareholder meetings

  1. Did you mean to link the White House with the EPA in opposition to the fight against climate change!!?? I would’ve thought the White House is at odds with the EPA — and pretty much anything else that makes sense. But you are right, there needs to be a concerted effort to fight this very important battle.

  2. Dear Keith,

    Even Rex Tillerson is pushing for the president not to exit from the Paris climate change agreement accord. DDT also has his family and the generals saying the same.

    He would have to be listening to oil executives to go against this advice not to exit.

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, ironically some of the oil companies want the US to start in the Paris deal. They felt we would lose our cutting edge if we don’t. Keith

  3. The US cannot simply wash their hands off this matter. But as you said, if the White House refuses to participate the people need to step in and make some pressure!

    • Erika, if Trump punts on this, others will and need to fill the void. It will relegate our leadership to the kid’s table while the grown ups talk. Keith

      • Let’s hope it won’t come to it, as the US needs to be at the grown up table, even with our tempestuous leader.

      • That’s acutally how it should be. It would give a peculiar view on a world power like th US. But then again, this only supports T’s short presidency.

      • Erika, I liken this to three or four people at a party having a great conversation over what we need to do to protect our planet and then a shallow person walking up asking what they are talking about, offering a bumper sticker comment and then walking off. I found it very interesting that the Pope provided our low-information President his educational piece on battling climate change. That speaks volumes. Keith

  4. Hats off and two thumbs-up for those who are standing up for what is right. In normal circumstances, with a leader in the Oval Office, I would say that only a fool would ignore the fact that most people obviously want us to take an active role in combating climate change and working with nations around the globe via the Paris Accords to protect and fix our environment. But, these are not normal circumstances and we actually have a fool in the White House … many of them, in fact. But I am encouraged by seeing that people and organizations are standing up for what is right! Thanks for this post!

    • Jill, thanks. In the absence of leadership, others have to fill the void. Seeing these two positive votes are telling. I should note one of the better action plans on fighting climate change was convened by the largest pension fund managers in the world, including Calpers in 2011 with broad financial impacts. They saw it as both an environmental and financial concern. Keith

    • Janis, I just hope saner heads can convince our President to do no harm. I did see an excerpt of Frontline’s report on Steve Bannon. He would not qualify as a saner head. Hopefully, his days are numbered in the White House. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: If you are like me, you will sometimes reread the three recommended posts at the bottom of a given post. I had forgotten the one about “An old shell on the beach,” I had written a few months ago. Take a peek at it or the Exxon one and you can glean how oil companies have known about their impact on climate change for quite some time.

  6. Shareholders do not often override the board’s recommendation to vote against a shareholder initiative, so these votes are a welcome sign that concern about climate change is going mainstream, despite all the denials and obfuscations.

  7. Note to Readers: While our President is deciding on whether to leave the Paris Climate Change Accord, Exxon-Mobil shareholders surprisingly added their voice to the PPL and Occidental shareholders. By a majority of 62%, the shareholders voted against management’s recommendation and will require Exxon-Mobil to report on the impact of climate change on their business and measurements taken. It should be noted that past dealings by the leadership are being investigated by the New York Attorney General for misleading shareholders about the impact of climate change on its business. If found guilty, this is securities fraud. On the flip side, current management has recommended to the President to remain in the Paris Climate Change Accord.

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