Exxon Mobil’s shareholders voted on Wednesday to approve climate related proposals, that if implemented will see the company disclose the impact of climate change compliance guidelines on its business.
The 62.3 percent vote in favour came despite the company asking its shareholders not to worry about the impact of global climate change policies on the business of one of world’s largest oil producers.
In the days before the vote, it had stepped up efforts to persuade investors to vote against climate-related proposals at the annual meeting.
The company had opposed the proposals to report on the risks to its business from new technologies and global climate change policies, insisting it already provides the information.
This had left the shareholders of Exxon unhappy as they are not sure about the future of the company.
Shareholder activists pushed for the company to study and disclose whether regulations designed to reduce carbon emissions could hurt demand for oil.
They also wanted the oil giant to describe steps it takes to prevent methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, when it drills oil and gas wells.
Last year, the same proposal was backed by 38.1 percent of shareholders.
The oil company will now likely have to explain potential business impacts from having to meet the Paris agreement's temperature goal.
The vote comes at a time when Trump is considering to pull the US from the Paris Climate deal, the landmark agreement that commits nearly all countries to fight global warming.
Lawmakers, corporate executives, foreign leaders and a divided White House staff are anxious as to what President Trump will decide.
On one hand, chief executives of some of the world’s largest companies are urging him to remain part of the accord and on the other hand his chief strategist,Stephen K. Bannon and Scott Pruitt, his Environmental Protection Agency administrator are coaxing him to withdraw from the 195-country agreement.
At the same time Exxon Mobil’s chief executive, Darren W. Woods,in a personal letter to Trump has urged him to remain in the Paris Climate deal.
He says that by being a part of the deal, the US can keep “a seat at the negotiating table to ensure a level playing field” for all energy sources.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is a major proponent of more oil drilling has maintained that US should stay in the accord to keep "a seat at the table" in climate change talks.
The Trump administration wants to weaken the Obama-era climate policies that allows the US to comply with the Paris agreement.
Environmental activists have been lobbying for years against unrestrained drilling for petroleum reserves especially when it comes to production from shale formations.
Billboards and rallies
Climate campaigners were also active. They organized rallies and held media briefings. In Dallas, where the meeting was taking place, they put up billboards and signs seeking to sway votes.
Big investors including State Street Corp and BlackRock Inc, which together hold about 9 percent of Exxon shares, recently made it clear that they are now giving more attention to climate issues.
Bob Litterman, chairman of the risk committee at asset-management firm Kepos Capital LP said no matter the outcome of the vote on Wednesday, pressures on Exxon to spell out the potential impact of a global warming on the value of its energy assets will only grow.