The Church of England Pension Board said on Tuesday it would vote against Shell’s SHEL-N chair and directors at its upcoming annual meeting over “signals” the energy giant could revise commitments to fight climate change.
Proxy adviser PIRC also recommended investors vote against the energy company’s chair and oppose its annual report for “failing to address climate risks by setting adequate targets.”
Chief Executive Officer Wael Sawan, who took office in January, said in March that Shell was reviewing its plan to reduce oil output by 1 per cent to 2 per cent per year by 2030 as part of his focus on improving the company’s performance and returns.
Shell will hold an investor day in June where it will provide details on its updated strategy. Shell said its target of reducing emissions to net zero by 2050 remained unchanged as it continues to invest in low carbon energy.
“We are receiving the signals from Shell’s new chief executive of a return to the pursuit of maximizing short-term returns,” Adam Matthews, Chief Responsible Investment Officer for the Church of England Pensions Board said in a LinkedIn post.
Matthews, who led climate negotiations with Shell for a large group of investors until last year, said his fund would vote against the reappointment of Shell chair Andrew Mackenzie and board directors at the May 23 annual general meeting.
The fund will also vote in favor of a shareholder resolution filed by activist group Follow This calling on Shell to set bolder climate targets.
“The concern is that the short term is now influencing longer-term horizons as enormous profits do not translate into significantly scaled investments in the transition, compared against continued investment in oil and gas production,” Matthews said.
Shell said in response that after engaging with the Church of England for nearly a decade it strongly disagreed with the Pension Board’s changed position.
PIRC also recommended shareholders vote in favor of the Follow This resolution, which Shell urged investors to oppose.
PIRC also recommended voting against Mackenzie and Shell’s Energy Transition resolution.
Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended Shell shareholders vote against the Follow This proposal.