Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

An Exxon gas station stands in Houston on April 30, 2019.

Loren Elliott/Reuters

Climate activists are prodding Exxon Mobil Corp’s top shareholders to vote against the reelection of two directors, a move that could boost a hedge fund’s proxy fight to seat four candidates on the oil giant’s board.

Environmental group Sierra Club and other activists have bombarded BlackRock Inc and Vanguard Group with calls and emails urging them to vote against Exxon Chief Executive Darren Woods and lead independent director Kenneth Frazier at this month’s shareholder meeting. The two money management firms hold more than 13% of Exxon shares combined.

Exxon is battling activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 over four seats on the 12-member board and the company’s future direction. The fund has criticized Exxon’s poor returns from heavy spending on fossil fuels and lack of a clear transition to cleaner fuels. It has support from some large pension funds in California and New York.

Story continues below advertisement

BlackRock and Vanguard declined to comment on their stance. Both have signed the Net Zero Asset Managers  Initiative, vowing to press portfolio companies to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.

“The leadership of the boards of directors should be voted off” if their company fails to embrace the Paris Accord’s goal on limiting the rise in the global temperature, said Lisa Lindsley, director of investor engagement at Majority Action, one of the groups pressuring the Exxon shareholders.

Exxon spokesman Casey Norton said the company supports the Paris Agreement on climate change, is focused on investments to lower carbon emissions in high-emitting sectors such as heavy industry and power, and is “the industry leader in carbon capture and storage.”

Exxon is “developing innovative solutions needed to help achieve society’s goal of a lower-carbon future,” Norton said, adding that conversations with investors have been constructive.

Exxon, the top U.S. oil firm, in recent months has expanded its board, pledged to increase spending on lower-carbon initiatives and lower the intensity of its oilfield greenhouse gas emissions. It has not set 2050 targets as European peers have done.

In a Reuters interview last week, Woods, the CEO, said big shareholders have been receptive to Exxon’s climate efforts.

Shareholders “are very encouraged by the fact that we’re taking a leadership role and helping to provide solutions to meet some of these broader ambitions,” Woods said.

Story continues below advertisement

Supporters from various groups have sent at least 10,000 emails to both BlackRock and Vanguard and made hundreds of phone calls to BlackRock’s offices, asking them to vote against Woods and Frazier, according to the Australian-based Sunrise Project, part of a network of climate-focused groups that have zeroed in on large money managers.

“It’s important to call on them to actually do more than just issue nice letters and press releases and actually make good on those commitments,” said Ben Cushing, who leads the Sierra Club’s financial advocacy campaign.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies