The Church Commissioners, responsible for the management of the Church of England’s £10 billion endowment fund, has announced it will be voting against all directors at the upcoming AGMs of Exxon, Shell, Total and Occidental Petroleum. This decision was made in response to their failure to meet climate change objectives and missed opportunities to invest significantly in the transition to a low-carbon economy. A Daily Telegraph op-ed by Adam Matthews, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at the Church of England Pension Board, said investor engagement with the oil and gas sector is at “crossroads”, with it no longer tenable for short-term profits to come before the long-term health of the planet. In 2018, the Church of England’s General Synod called for the Church’s National Investing Bodies to divest from fossil fuel companies that are not aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2023. “High energy prices produced huge profits at oil and gas companies last year – a golden opportunity to invest very significantly in the transition to a low carbon economy, and one that was comprehensively missed,” said Olga Hancock, Acting Head of Responsible Investment at the Church Commissioners. “We will be supporting all the relevant climate resolutions and voting against all of their directors.” On Monday, the Church of England Pensions Board joined Dutch pension manager PGGM in support of Follow This’ shareholder resolution at Shell’s upcoming AGM, calling on the oil and gas major to accelerate emissions cuts. However, proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services advised shareholders to vote against the resolution.
Oil and Gas Engagement at a “Crossroads” – CoE
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