Chevron investors back climate proposal

Chevron should be able to increase returns to investors at the same time as it strives to reduce carbon emissions, its CEO said. PHOTO: REUTERS

(BLOOMBERG) - Chevron shareholders voted for a proposal to reduce emissions from the company's customers, the latest sign that oil titans are coming under increasing pressure to address environmental concerns.

According to a preliminary tally, 61 per cent of investors backed the proposal at the company's annual investor meeting on Wednesday (May 26), rebuffing the company's board, which had urged shareholders to reject it.

An item asking Chevron to report on how a significant reduction in fossil fuel demand would affect its business and a request for a report on political lobbying were narrowly voted down.

The vote, which came on the same day Royal Dutch Shell was ordered by a Dutch court to slash its emissions harder and faster than planned, highlights an unprecedented push to hold oil giants accountable for their contributions to climate change.

Also on Wednesday, at least two nominees of an activist investment firm won seats on Exxon Mobil's board in a major setback for chief executive Darren Woods.

Chevron should be able to increase returns to investors at the same time as it strives to reduce carbon emissions and engage with all its stakeholders to seek solutions, CEO Mike Wirth said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. That includes so-called Scope 3 emissions, which are produced when customers of energy producers burn the fuels they sell.

"Across our society and all stakeholders, interest in these issues has never been higher and I think the vote reflects that," he said. "We're working on everything, the emissions of our products as they're used by our customers, we're offering renewable diesel, renewable natural gas and renewable base oils. We're working on things like sustainable aviation fuel and hydrogen."

ConocoPhillips investors earlier this month rebuffed the company's board to support a similar push for a full-scope emissions reduction target. Amsterdam-based shareholder activist group Follow This said that 58 per cent of investors backed the proposal.

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