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Investors file resolution asking Exxon to outline emissions reductions targets

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Investors file resolution asking Exxon to outline emissions reductions targets

Several institutional investors said Dec. 16 they have filed a resolution at Exxon Mobil Corp., calling for the U.S. oil and gas major, for the first time, to set and publish emissions reductions targets.

In its request, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, or NYSCRF, and the Church Commissioners for England, or CCE, have asked Exxon to set and disclose short-, medium- and long-term emissions reduction targets from its operations and the use of its products that are aligned with the goals established by the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The proposal, which follows a wave of investor activity pushing for large energy companies to pass resolutions on climate change, will be voted on by shareholders at Exxon's annual meeting in May 2019. It is supported by other investors, including the California Public Employees' Retirement System and HSBC Global Asset Management.

This is not the first time institutional investors have attempted to push Exxon on its climate goals. In 2017, the NYSCRF and CCE asked Exxon to disclose the impact of measures to combat climate change on its business.

"We want to see ExxonMobil develop a clear strategy for long-term sustainability, in line with international commitments for a safer climate," Edward Mason, head of responsible investment for the CCE, said in a statement.

"The world is transitioning to a lower carbon future and Exxon needs to demonstrate its ability to adapt or risk its bottom line along with investors' confidence," New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, as Trustee of the NYSCRF, said.

The resolution at Exxon is being endorsed by Netherlands-based activist investor group Follow This, which earlier this month took aim at Royal Dutch Shell PLC and London-based BP PLC, submitting resolutions asking the super majors to set more stringent emissions-reduction targets. Follow This, which later co-filed a separate shareholder resolution at Chevron Corp., had been preparing to propose a similar request at Exxon.

Bowing to ongoing investor pressure, Shell said Dec. 3 that it will set short-term targets to cut its carbon emissions, with those levels to be tied to executive pay. In late 2017, Shell announced it would reduce the carbon footprint of the energy products it sells by 50% by 2050 but did not disclose any binding targets. Now, as part of its long-term emissions reduction goal, Shell plans to set annually, beginning in 2020, three- to five-year targets through 2050.