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Shell shareholders overwhelmingly reject climate change resolution

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Shell shareholders overwhelmingly reject climate change resolution

By a majority vote of 95% at the company's annual shareholder meeting May 22, Royal Dutch Shell PLC investors rejected a resolution that would have had the company set more stringent emissions reduction targets.

"We believe the vote is a clear and strong display of confidence in Shell's wide-ranging and progressive approach to leading through the energy transition. It demonstrates not only support for our industry-leading strategy, but also clear trust in the ability of Shell's management to implement it," Shell said in a May 22 statement announcing the results.

In mid-April, Shell's board of directors advised shareholders to vote against the resolution, which was filed in November 2017 by Follow This, a Netherlands-based group of green shareholders in Shell. The Follow This resolution called on Shell to set and publish more aggressive targets that align with the goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change to limit global warming to below 2 degrees C.

Addressing investor concerns regarding its climate change strategy, Shell reiterated in early April that the company plans to reduce the carbon footprint of the energy products it sells by 50% by 2050.

In a May 17 open letter to the Financial Times, a group of 60 large investors urged oil and gas companies across the industry to ramp up efforts to reduce their emissions.

"For the Paris climate agreement to succeed, the oil and gas industry must be more transparent and take responsibility for all its emissions," the letter said.

Also at the May 22 meeting, about 75% of Shell's investors voted in favor of the 2017 remuneration report, including CEO Ben Van Beurden's earnings package for the year of about $10 million. This compares to the 2016 remuneration report, which was approved by about 92% of Shell's investors.

According to reports, independent proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., or ISS, had called for the rejection of the 2017 remuneration report due, in part, to how the company handled a deadly accident in Pakistan.