Last week was the culmination of major oil and gas companies’ annual general meetings, also known as annual shareholder meetings. As in previous years, climate-related shareholder proposals were on the agenda for Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron, and climate advocates urged major investors, including BlackRock, to vote for climate action.
Two key things have changed since last year:
1) Evidence has piled up that sharp cuts in fossil fuels are needed to keep the goals of the Paris climate agreement within reach—and that major oil and gas companies’ climate claims are greenwashing.
2) Oil and gas companies are raking in record profits as Russia wages an unjust war in Ukraine.
Less shareholder support for climate proposals at major oil and gas companies’ annual meetings this year suggests that some investors may be falling for fossil fuel industry spin and deprioritizing climate action. That would be shortsighted and dangerous. According to the latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, action between now and 2030 is most critical: Immediate, deep cuts in heat-trapping emissions are necessary across all sectors if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Here are four corporate annual meetings that UUA Investment Committee acting chair Kathy Mulvey and her colleagues at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) attended last week on the proxies of socially responsible investors, as well as a few things they watched for.