UK

Major investors praised for voting in favour of green resolution at Big Oil AGMs

Climate protesters gathering ahead of oil giant Shell’s annual general meeting (Rebecca Speare-Cole/PA)
Climate protesters gathering ahead of oil giant Shell’s annual general meeting (Rebecca Speare-Cole/PA) Climate protesters gathering ahead of oil giant Shell’s annual general meeting (Rebecca Speare-Cole/PA)

The three largest European asset managers have been praised for voting in favour of a climate resolution at the annual general meetings (AGMs) of five fossil fuel giants.

Amundi, UBS, and Allianz voted for a resolution that requests the board to align its existing 2030 reduction target covering scope 3 – emissions from products sold – with the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.

This means boards would need to underpin decarbonisation plans with the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5C, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The resolution, tabled by activist shareholder group Follow This, leaves the strategy on how to achieve this target up to the board.

The group has now analysed the voting behaviour of 12 top investors at the AGMs of BP, Shell, Chevron, TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil this year.

In findings published on Monday, it found that French firm Amundi voted for the resolution at all five of the AGMs while Swiss firm UBS voted for it at all but BP’s meeting.

German investor Allianz voted in favour of the resolution at US oil majors Chevron and ExxonMobil, but against it at the European firms’ AGMs.

These three asset managers have been praised by Follow This for their commitment to climate stewardship.

The group’s founder, Mark van Baal, said: “Investors hold the key to tackling the climate crisis with their shareholder voting power at Big Oil.

“Amundi, Allianz, and UBS use their voting power to mitigate the climate crisis.

British fossil fuel giants report
British fossil fuel giants report Amundi, UBS, and Allianz were praised for voting in favour of a resolution (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Most of their peers enable oil majors to continue to cause climate breakdown by voting against climate resolutions.”

The other nine investors – eight US firms and British company Legal and General – were criticised for voting against or had a flip vote on the resolution.

Mr van Baal said: “Big Oil needs to change or Paris will fail. That’s a decision for shareholders.

“These asset managers vote with their long-term financial interests in mind. These investors are determined to reach Paris because they foresee they will be unable to make a reasonable return on capital if the climate crisis worsens.”

Mr van Baal said most of these large asset managers “stall climate action and enable Big Oil to continue to cause climate breakdown” by voting against the resolution.

“US and UK investors apparently believe they must choose between profits and climate, but this is a false dilemma construed by the oil and gas industry,” he said.

“The current windfall profits of oil and gas should be used to invest in new sustainable business models instead of more fossil fuels.”

PA has contacted Legal and General for comment.