Tag Archives: shareholders

Exxon admits climate change, rejects resolutions

Exxon Mobil and Chevron shareholders rejected resolutions to take stronger stands to limit climate change. But some y environmentalist-backed ideas gained considerable support.

At Chevron Corp., a resolution asking for an annual report each year on how climate-change policies will affect the company received 41 percent of the vote. A similar resolution at Exxon got 38 percent.

Also, Exxon Mobil Corp. shareholders voted to ask directors to adopt a proxy-access rule, which would make it easier for shareholders to propose their own board candidates. Backers including the New York City comptroller said it could result in the election of independent directors who could help the company address risks like climate change.

The meetings last week — Exxon’s in Dallas, Chevron’s in San Ramon, California — came as the companies are trying to dig out from the collapse in crude prices that began in mid-2014. Exxon earned $16.15 billion last year, its smallest profit since 2002. Chevron’s annual profit plunged 76 percent to $4.59 billion and included the company’s first money-losing quarter since 2002.

Crude prices have rebounded since February, boosting the shares of the top two U.S. oil companies, but they remain about half of what they were at their last peak.

Exxon is also dealing with investigations by officials in several states into what the company knew and allegedly didn’t disclose about oil’s role in climate change.

Exxon Mobil and Chevron shareholders rejected resolutions to take stronger stands to limit climate change, but some ideas gained strength.

Patricia Daley, a Dominican sister from New Jersey and sponsor of one of the resolutions, said Exxon lacked “moral leadership.”

“Our company has chosen to disregard the consensus of the scientific community, the will of the 195 nations that signed the Paris agreement,” religious leaders and even other oil companies, Daley said.

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said his company has long recognized that climate change is a serious risk and might require action. But, he said, any policies should be implemented evenly across the world, allow market prices to pick solutions, and be flexible enough to respond to economic ups and downs and “breakthroughs in climate science.”

Exxon forecasts that oil and gas will make up 60 percent of the world’s energy supply in 2040 — about the same share it holds today. Its CEO said the company was balancing the need to produce more energy for growing world demand with environmental considerations.

Tillerson said there is no alternative source that can replace the ubiquity of fossil fuels. He expressed confidence that technology will provide the key to limiting carbon emissions.

“We’ve got to have some technological breakthroughs,” he said, “but until we achieve those, to just say turn the taps off is not acceptable to humanity,” he said.

The shareholders responded with robust applause.

Across the street from the meeting hall, about 60 protesters gathered and urged large shareholders such as pension funds to divest their shares. Many held signs with slogans such as “Exxon Liar Liar Earth on Fire.” The mood was sedate, however, perhaps owing to the warm, muggy weather.

Exxon shares rose 59 cents to $90.26, and Chevron shares gained $1.60 to $101.79.

ExxonMobil to offer spousal benefits to married gay employees

ExxonMobil, which for years has resisted appeals for change from shareholders and civil rights advocates, will recognize same-sex marriages and will offer health benefits to the spouses of gay employees.

However, the company has not amended its non-discrimination policy to ban bias based on gender identity or sexual orientation. And apparently it will not reinstate the domestic partnership program that Mobil offered before the merger.

In a statement, ExxonMobil said, “The decision is consistent with the direction of most U.S. government agencies. We have made no change in the definition of eligibility for our U.S. benefit plans. Spousal eligibility in our U.S. benefit plans has been and continues to be governed by the federal definition of marriage and spouse.”

“Granting health benefits to all married couples is a step toward equality, but it is certainly not the kind of leadership exhibited by ExxonMobil’s competitors,” said Deena Fidas, director the workplace equality program for the Human Rights Campaign. “There is no federal law protecting employees from discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity and ExxonMobil refuses to join the majority of their Fortune 500 colleagues in adopting their own such policies.”

Before the merger in 1999 between Mobil Corp and Exxon Corp., Mobil offered health benefits to domestic partners of its employees and prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation.

When Exxon acquired Mobil, the non-discrimination policy was eliminated and the domestic partner benefits program was closed to new employees.


In HRC’s rating system for corporations, Chevron, BP, Shell and Spectra received scores of 85 or higher out of a possible 100. ExxonMobil received a minus 25 score. 

A growing number of companies are updating benefits policies to come into compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a provision in a 1996 law that barred the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages.