British oil and gas major Shell will face another shareholder rebellion as major investors, including the UK’s biggest pension fund, agree to back a fresh climate resolution after the last one was rejected in 2023.
A total of 27 investors are prepared to back a resolution filed by Dutch shareholder activist group Follow This. The climate resolution calls for Shell to do more to cut its emissions and align its medium-term emissions targets with the goals of the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to below 1.5°C.
The coalition of investors, which includes the UK Government-backed pension scheme National Employment Savings Trust (Nest), own a combined 5% of Shell’s shares. Nest is responsible for the pensions of almost a quarter of UK employees.
Diandra Soobiah, the head of responsible investment at Nest, told the Guardian: “We urge Shell to set a credible Scope 3 absolute emissions target. This would demonstrate leadership, show Shell is serious about transitioning its business, and play a role in generating real world change.” Scope 3 emissions include the greenhouse gas emissions that are not directly produced from a company’s own activities. This includes the sourcing of raw materials, the transportation of a finished product and the emissions that are produced when consumers use a product.
The resolution has also won the support of French asset management company Amundi, which oversees approximately €2trn ($2.17trn) in assets.
Follow This founder Mark Van Baal has said that the resolution now has the backing of investors that manage a combined €4trn in assets. He said: “This escalation of 27 leading investors puts the call for emissions reductions by energy companies front and centre for all institutional investors.”
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Shareholders will vote on the climate resolution at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM), currently due to be held in May. Last year, Shell’s AGM saw climate protests delay the start of a meeting in which investors voted down calls to renew emissions targets.
A group of investors, led by Follow This and including Nest, also filed a similar resolution against Shell and other oil majors last year, which was ultimately rejected. In 2022, Follow This received 20% of votes for a similar resolution.
A Shell spokesperson said: “The 2024 resolution from Follow This is broadly unchanged from their 2023 submission, which was rejected by shareholders (as its variations have been every year since first being submitted in 2016).
“Shell’s board has previously advised shareholders that the Follow This resolution was unrealistic and simplistic, that it would have no impact on mitigating climate change, have negative consequences for our customers, and was against the interests of the company and our shareholders.”