Exxon Mobil Corp’s chief executive on Wednesday said the company would reconsider how it communicates the risks its faces from climate change after shareholders approved a measure calling for increased transparency.
The non-binding proposal passed with 62 percent of ballots cast in a rare defeat for Exxon’s management, which had recommended a vote against the measure.
The company said that it already provides sufficient information on the potential impact of changing technologies and energy demand on its asset portfolio.
The results likely reflected a shift in how big shareholders voted on the measure, as the same proposal last year received only 38.1 percent of shares voted.
Asset manager BlackRock Inc backed the proposal, according to a source familiar with the matter.
BlackRock holds about 6 percent of Exxon shares.
Among other top Exxon shareholders, spokespeople for State Street Corp and Vanguard Group declined to comment on the vote.
“It’s a powerful message,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in an interview.
A New York state public employee pension fund he oversees was one of the proposal’s sponsors.
“They recognized the global community is staying committed to Paris,” he said, referring to the Paris global climate accord.
The proposal asked for Exxon to report on risks its business could face from technology changes and from climate change policies, such as the 2015 accord aiming to keep average global temperature increases below 2°C.
In remarks following the shareholder meeting, Exxon chief executive Darren Woods said the board would reconsider its climate change-related communications, but did not commit to producing the report requested in the proposal.
He also said board directors would review a policy designed to bar them from meeting individually with big shareholders, a practice criticized by the climate proposal sponsors.
“We take the vote seriously, will respond to that feedback and look for opportunities” to communicate, Woods said. “That issue along with others is part of dialogue we have with the board.”
Exxon still faces probes by Massachusetts and New York attorneys general into whether it misled the public and investors by soft-pedaling climate change risks.
Exxon has said the suits are politically motivated, and intended to force it and others to change their positions on climate change.
Protesters, some in skeleton costumes, held up signs saying “Exxon Lied” across the street from Wednesday’s annual meeting.
ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest independent oil and gas producer, also expressed support for the climate agreement on Wednesday.
“It gives the US the ability to participate in future climate discussions to safeguard its economic and environmental best interests,” ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said in an e-mail.
Utility owners, including Consolidated Edison Inc (ConEd) and the energy unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, on Wednesday said that they would continue investing in gas, wind and solar power as they seek to cut emissions.
“Energy industry economics and investments have been moving for many years toward more renewables, smart technology, energy efficiency and we expect that direction to continue,” ConEd spokesman Michael Clendenin said.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: While news about a COVID-19 vaccine is more eye-catching, developing a treatment would be more viable, the Senhwa boss said Senhwa Biosciences Inc (生華科) aims to raise NT$1.5 billion (US$50.57 million) by issuing 15 million new common shares in the third quarter of this year to fund the research of new drugs, including the experimental drug Silmitasertib for the treatment of COVID-19, the company said on Monday. That would be the firm’s largest fundraising effort after it raised more than NT$1.4 billion from an initial public offering on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX) in April 2017, chief financial officer Sarah Chang (張小萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The price of the new shares would depend on the firm’s average share price
NOT A PANACEA: Offering 5G services would not solve the problem of declining telecom incomes, chairman Sheih Chi-mau said, expecting a flat 5G telecom revenue Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday became the nation’s first telecom to debut its 5G services, offering tiered tariffs that include a threshold of NT$599 and flat rates, as it aims to switch half of its subscribers to the 5G network within three years. Subscribers would have unlimited data transmission for monthly fees starting at NT$1,399 — the same flat rate as when the company launched its 4G service in 2014 — and they can subscribe to the highest-rate plan for NT$2,699 per month for faster data transmission speeds and larger bandwidth, the company said. Data transmission speeds would be within the range
ROW: A probe would determine if the rights of shareholders who were not allowed to vote yesterday had been violated, while the stock exchange also wants answers The election of board directors yesterday at Tatung Co (大同) sparked controversy after the company blocked some institutional and individual shareholders from participating in the general shareholders’ meeting, prompting the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to announce that the vote would be investigated. Lin Kuo Wen-yen (林郭文艷) was re-elected as chairwoman of the household-appliance maker’s nine-member board, but prior to the vote she announced that several shareholders would not have voting rights. They were being denied a vote because they had contravened the Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act (企業併購法), and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and