Ceres Statement on the Occidental Shareholder Vote

May 9, 2016 12:45 PM ET

BOSTON - Momentum is building in the U.S. for better climate disclosure. Investors and analysts continue to send strong signals that Paris marked a turning point on climate action. On Friday, Occidental Petroleum announced the results of voting on a 2 degree stress testing resolution at its annual meeting, and yet again the votes represented a high-water mark on investor support for climate risk reporting in the U.S. reaching 48.99% of votes cast.

Proxy advisory firm ISS has also announced recommendations in favor of similar resolutions pending at ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Anadarko. A number of powerful forces are moving investors and analysts to seek transparency, comparability, and decision-useful information from fossil fuel companies about how they are managing the energy transition. As oil prices continue to show volatility and defaults rise, credit ratings agencies such as S&P are downgrading even heavyweights such as ExxonMobil. The Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures is fueling further analysis, and continued advances in technologies such as batteries, electric vehicles, and grid modernization are creating opportunities for cleaner energy and heightening risks for fossil fuels.

In this context, one would assume that western energy companies would be taking aggressive steps to ensure their economic viability in a rapidly decarbonizing world. Now is the time for their boards and executives to chart a path forward for resilience to a future where temperature rise is limited to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as the rest of the world envisions.

Similar resolutions are slated for votes in the coming weeks at Anadarko, First Energy, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Southern Company. Investors around the world have pledged their support of portfolio resilience carbon asset risk resolutions at these companies, and if the votes at AES and Occidental Petroleum are any indication, this proxy season will mark a monumental shift on climate disclosure.

Learn more and pledge your support at http://www.ceres.org/issues/carbon-asset-risk/investor-support-of-portfolio-resilience-resolutions.