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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Shell Supports Shareholder Resolution On Climate Change Risk


Another fossil fuel company is realizing the need to report on the risks associated with climate change.

Royal Dutch Shell, the multinational oil and gas company known by most as Shell, is supporting a shareholder resolution that requires the company to recognize climate change risks.

A group of shareholders called the  “Aiming for A” coalition, coordinated by ClientEarth and ShareAction, filed the resolution last year. It was co-filed by a total of 52 institutions with a combined 52 million shares of Shell.

Shell will recommend that its shareholders vote for the resolution at its annual general meeting in May, the company announced last week.

The “Aiming for A” investor coalition filed a similar resolution with BP on Jan. 21. Another resolution, filed with ExxonMobil last year, was withdrawn after the company agreed to publish a report on carbon asset risk.

Shell stated in a letter that its board “has given consideration to the resolution and has decided to recommend that shareholders support the resolution at the [annual general meeting].” The letter also stated that the company maintains its “commitment to engage with our shareholders in this area and look forward to implementing the resolution should it be passed at the [meeting]."

“It is actually quite uncommon for a company to support a shareholder proposal – in the past 15 years for example, only Newmont Mining and Tyco have supported CBIS resolutions,” said Dan Nielsen, director of Catholic Responsible Investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), a member of the investment coalition.

The shareholder resolution asks Shell to do the following:
“That in order to address our interest in the longer term success of the Company, given the recognized risks and opportunities associated with climate change, we as shareholders of the Company direct that routine annual reporting from 2016 includes further information about: ongoing operational emissions management; asset portfolio resilience to the International Energy Agency’s scenarios; low-carbon energy research and development and investment strategies; relevant strategic key performance indicators and executive incentives; and public policy positions relating to climate change.”

Energy demand could increase by up to 80 percent by 2050 while carbon emissions need to “urgently fall to limit the impact of serious climate change,” Shell stated on its website. Although the company states that fossil fuels will be “meeting the bulk of demand,” Shell also stated that carbon emissions “must be reduced to avoid serious climate change.”

Clearly, Shell realizes that climate change is real and serious. The company even has a Chief Climate Adviser. His name is David Hone, and he started writing a weekly blog post about climate change issues in 2008. From 2008 to 2014, he wrote 250 blog posts about climate change.

Image credit: GS André

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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