Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) is facing the pressure of including a resolution on climate change in its upcoming annual shareholder proxy. The Comptroller of New York together with four other major shareholders of the company sought the intervention of the SEC to force the oil firm to do so.
Concern On Ability To Operate Profitably
Investors were worried that any legislation in respect of climate change would harm Exxon Mobil’s ability to operate profitably. The move comes on the heels of the company fighting an investigation by the New York’s Attorney General over whether the oil firm misled shareholders and the public on the risks of climate change. City officials have boosted their efforts to push for an increased disclosure on climate by the oil giant.
The company appears not to be worried about the move and indicated to the SEC last month that it was planning to block a vote on the climate resolution at the upcoming annual meeting slated for May. The oil producer claimed that the affects of climate change are not clear in the first place, and therefore that it was difficult to quantify the metrics that have been sought.
Of course, it is not unusual that companies prefer to block resolutions brought up by shareholders if the company believes that they have little to do with main operations.
The New York State Comptroller manages Exxon Mobil’s pension fund worth $178.3 billion. He said that as investors, the fund wanted to know how the company’s earnings would be affected by the international efforts to cut down greenhouse gas emissions. He also wanted to know what the company was planning to do on the climate change issue.
The regulator might issue an order before Exxon Mobil that dispatches its proxy materials to its shareholders this spring. The company said that there were few risks as far as its reserves were concerned if and when climate change takes full effect. The oil firm was ready to share certain data on its conclusion.