At Chevron’s AGM in San Ramon, California today, 4 percent of shareholders supported the first-of-its-kind proposal to return capital to shareholders rather than pursue ever more risky carbon extraction investments.
Julian Poulter, CEO of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP), said: “Big pension funds voting against Resolution 7 will look back and realise they missed an opportunity to limit wasted capital, which is surely more important than having the evidence to sack senior management once the carbon crash begins.”
Filed by US non-profit group As You Sow, the resolution asked Chevron to halt capital expenditure on exploration for more un-burnable reserves and instead return capital to share-owners.
“The Chevron AGM was a turning point. There is now a remarkable split in the industry, which is likely to spark the real debate about how, not if, to wind down these companies or diversify them into renewable energy,” Poulter said.
“This is now a standoff, with the active asset owners led by PRI Chair Martin Skancke advocating strong intervention, and some big US funds wanting to let company boards govern capital allocation,” he added.
Last week, AODP and partner SumOfUs launched VoteYourPension (www.VoteYourPension.org), which has seen record 1218 pension funds around the world – representing a majority of Chevron shareholders – contacted and urged to vote against a fossil fuel based company.
“Over 17,494 individuals in 51 countries asked their pension funds, mutual funds and superannuation funds to support the return of capital to their funds by Chevron, instead of funding more desperate attempts to get oil out of the ground,” said Lisa Lindsley, Senior Shareholder Advocacy Manager at SumOfUs.
“We look forward to the discussions that mutual fund clients and pension beneficiaries will have with their funds about this vote.”
Only 20 pension funds contacted through VYP chose to respond to their members, some of which can be seen here.