Sunday 21 May 2017 11.38 BSTThe challenge comes from a Dutch group of retail investors, who have tabled a resolution for Shell’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, asking the company to establish carbon emission reduction targets.
“A large group of institutional investors will make their dissatisfaction with the company’s position evident by voting for this resolution,” said Mark van Baal of Follow this. The Church of England is among investors supporting the proposal, along with several European pension funds.
“I’m not expecting that it will pass but the resolution is well-worded and we support its intent – it’s something the board should be taking note of,” said Adam Matthews, head of engagement for church commissioners at the C of E.
Shell’s board has asked shareholders to vote against the resolution, which to pass would require 75% to vote in favour. Shell argued that unilaterally setting targets would harm the company and that the emissions from the burning of its oil and gas were largely covered by country’s individual climate plans under the Paris accord.
Independent European proxy advisory group ECGS recommends investors back the climate resolution, but major advisers Glass Lewis and ISS oppose it. The Guardian understands no major institutional investors intend to support it.
A Shell spokesperson said: “We’re pleased the key proxy agencies share the view of Shell’s board of directors that the resolution is not in the best interests of the company, its shareholders or the fight to tackle climate change.
“The only realistic way that Shell could reduce its customers’ emissions would be by reducing the volume of products we sell to them. This would simply drive customers to other suppliers, make no real difference to overall emissions, damage our business and undermine our efforts to play an active role in the energy transition.”