ExxonMobil to increase carbon impact disclosure on shareholder pressure

12 December 2017 11:49 Source:ICIS News

Exxon Baytown

LONDON (ICIS)--ExxonMobil has bowed to a shareholder request to increase disclosure of the potential impact of climate change on its business, the US-headquartered oil and gas major said late on Monday.

ExxonMobil shareholder the New York State Common Retirement Fund submitted a request at the company’s May annual general meeting that it increase transparency of the potential long-term impact of climate change and carbon-reduction policies on its business.

In future, ExxonMobil will increase its disclosure around energy demand changes, the impact of governmental measures to limit global warming to two degrees centigrade by 2030, and measures it is taking to prepare its operations for a lower-carbon future, the company said in an exchange filing.

The proposal was initially opposed by the company’s management, but in the filing the company said it had “reconsidered” it.

The concession is the latest by a large energy player in response to investor concern over the threat that greenhouse gas reduction policy and climate change may have on company earnings in future.

Belgium-headquartered chemicals producer Solvay was also among 91 signatories to a French company pledge committing to work to reduce energy intensity and greenhouse gas emissions.

Norwegian regulators are currently deliberating over a proposal by managers at the country’s Government Pension Fund to allow it to divest most of its exposure to oil and gas assets due to fears of the impact of permanently lower crude prices on its bottom line.

The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund built its wealth on Norway’s sizeable oil and gas reserves, but Norges Bank Investment Management, which runs the fund, wrote to Norwegian ministers in November advising the reduction of oil holdings.

“The vulnerability of government wealth to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices will be reduced if the fund is not invested in oil and gas stocks, and [we] advice removing these stocks from the fund’s benchmark index,” fund administrators said in the letter to Norway’s Ministry of Finance.

The fund also dumped the bulk of its coal stocks last year, a move it attributed to climate and financial risks.

Pictured: ExxonMobil's Baytown refinery in Texas
Source: ExxonMobil

By Tom Brown