ExxonMobil hasn"t been keeping up with competitors in setting global warming targets.© AP
In what environmentalists are calling a startling rebuke to company management, 31 percent of ExxonMobil shareholders voted in favor of a resolution calling on the company to set global warming emission targets for both its products and its operations. Most shareholder resolutions get a much smaller percentage of the vote, but can have a big impact on corporate policy nevertheless.
"When nearly one-third of shareholders vote to tell management to develop a program to cut emissions, this is a strong signal of discontent with the company’s do-nothing posture on global warming," says David Hawkins, director of the Climate Center at the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "ExxonMobil executives should be listening more carefully to their shareholders, and also paying closer attention to what their competitors are doing."
Part of the shareholder resolution, which was presented to shareholders at the company"s annual meeting last week in Dallas, cites the facts the ExxonMobil"s primary competitors—BP, Conoco and Shell—all belong to the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of leading public corporations and environmental groups calling on Congress to mandate concrete greenhouse gas emission limits.
"The market is moving while management at ExxonMobil is standing still," says Hawkins. "It"s time for them to take this challenge seriously."