ExxonMobil shareholders vote to begin disclosing the company's effect on the climate

ExxonMobil sign.
(Image credit: Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images)

Even as President Trump is reportedly readying to rip up the Paris climate agreement, ExxonMobil's shareholders voted Wednesday in favor of a proposal "calling on the oil and gas giant to assess and disclose how it is preparing its business for the transition to a low-carbon future," sustainability nonprofit Ceres reports. Over 62 percent of shareholders voted in favor of the climate report.

"This is an unprecedented victory at Exxon for investors in the fight to ensure a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy. Climate change is a risk to the core business of ExxonMobil, and the burden is now on the company to show that it is responsive to shareholder concerns," said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

A string of high votes this year at other U.S. oil and gas companies and electric utilities is elevating the call for enhanced disclosures on climate risk and opportunities amidst the energy transition. The proposal at Exxon specifically requests that the company publish an annual assessment of the long-term impacts of technological advances and climate policies on its full portfolio of reserves and resources, including a portfolio resilience assessment that considers a low oil demand scenario consistent with the globally agreed upon 2-degree target. [Ceres]

ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods wrote a letter to President Trump urging him to stay in the Paris agreement earlier this month. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, formerly the ExxonMobil CEO, has also promoted the agreement.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"Climate change is real — and it's having a real effect on both our planet and the economy," said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. "ExxonMobil has ignored investors' concerns about climate change for too long. Today's vote sends a clear message — shareowners want to see how a low-carbon future affects this company. ExxonMobil needs to take a hard look at what a greener future means and share that information with investors."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at TheWeek.com. She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.