Follow This’ climate change move shot down at Shell’s AGM

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden

Majority of Shell’s shareholders on Tuesday voted down a special proposal placed by a shareholder group called Follow This, which called for Shell to set specific emissions targets aligned with the Paris Climate agreement.

Follow This is a group of Shell shareholders whose mission statement reads:”We’re going to make the world sustainable quicker by making Shell a renewable energy company. We can achieve this by becoming shareholders in droves.”

This is a part of the text of the proposal titled “Shareholders support Shell to align its targets with the Paris Climate Agreement” put forth by Follow This ahead of the annual general meeting of the company:


“Shareholders support Shell to take leadership in the energy transition to a net-zero-emission energy system. Therefore, shareholders request Shell to set and publish targets that are aligned with the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C.

These targets need to cover the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Shell’s operations and the use of its energy products, they need to include long-term (2050) and intermediate objectives, to be quantitative, and to be reviewed regularly.

“We request that the company base these targets on tangible metrics such as GHG intensity metrics (GHG emissions per unit of energy produced) or to use other metrics that the company finds suitable to align its targets with a well-below 2°C pathway. Shareholders request that annual reporting include information about plans and progress to achieve these targets. You have our support. The energy transition is complicated, the end-goal is straightforward: a net-zero-emission energy system.”


Shell’s board of directors unanimously recommended its shareholders to vote against the Follow This proposal, deeming it potentially damaging to the company’s business, and unnecessary, given Shell’s own Shell’s own” industry-leading net carbon footprint ambition.”

Speaking ahead of the AGM, Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This said the board’s recommendation against the resolutions “demonstrates a clear lack of realism in what we need to do to address this issue seriously.”

He said:”Fellow shareholders, Shell still needs more support to take meaningful action. The resolution asks for no more and no less than a commitment to achieving the goal of the Paris agreement. Shell’s current ambitions (20% emission reduction by 2035, 50% by 2050) effectively allow the company to continue business as usual for decades. Apparently not one single director of the, perhaps, soon-to-be biggest oil company in the world can imagine a future energy mix without oil and gas in this century.

“We think a board of such a powerful company needs more diversity. We think a board of such a powerful company needs at least one director who differs from opinion about imagination beyond all and gas, sense of urgency, commitment to Paris, and leadership in the energy transition. This is not what the world’s investors want. Shell’s ambition is to follow society. The climate resolution asks for more – for leadership.”

 

“Let us lead!”

 

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said on Wednesday:”…In November, I laid out your company’s Net Carbon Footprint ambition. Shell is collaborating with leading technical experts to review and verify the methodology.

“This ambition is all about keeping the company in step with society’s progress towards Paris. That means exploring and developing the business opportunities in the global shift to a low-carbon energy system.”

“The Net Carbon Footprint ambition must make sense to you, our investors, not only from a moral and societal point of view, but also from an economic point of view. This ambition is truly industry-leading: nobody else comes close.”

Shell CEO: “Your company wants to lead. We ask you to let us. Follow us!”

Speaking further to the shareholders Van Beurden added:”The ambition requires Shell to take a broader and more meaningful approach than that suggested by Follow This. Our methodology and ambition gives us the flexibility to respond to a continuously changing landscape. We will need this flexibility as the energy transition plays out over the coming decades. In contrast, the Follow This resolution would tie our hands and limit our capacity to respond.

“So, your board asks you to vote against this resolution and allow management to continue to implement the ambition we have announced. Your company wants to lead. We ask you to let us. Follow us! And your company is already taking action.”

According to the AGM voting results released by Shell, some 95 percent of shareholders voted against the Follow This proposal.

Van Beurden said Shell supported the goals of the Paris Agreement:

“It supports them 100%. More than that, your company believes Paris, while challenging, is achievable, if the world can come together in a vast effort of collaboration: governments, businesses, civil society and consumers all pulling in the same direction.”

 

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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