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Published on May 31st, 2017 | by ABCUSA

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Update: ABHMS Joins Other Faith-Based Investors in Urging ExxonMobil to Address Climate Change

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UPDATE (6/1/17):
American Baptist Home Mission Societies recognizes a historic moment in shareholder engagement that occurred yesterday at ExxonMobil’s annual meeting. The climate change proposal co-filed by members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) received 62 percent of the vote.

Institutional investors supported the proposal, helping the vote to exceed the 50 percent threshold. According to ICCR, a shareholder vote of more than 50 percent is generally considered a mandate for proposal adoption.

“This victory came after years of persistent and courageous engagement by many ICCR members, and especially Sister Patricia Daly of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment and ABHMS’ socially responsible investment consultant,” says Dave L. Moore Jr., ABHMS’ director of investments. “At the Exxon annual meeting, Sister Pat spoke of the moral imperative to address climate change and urged the company to reiterate its commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. We congratulate her on this landmark win and for her tireless commitment to moving Exxon and the investor community forward.”

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/31/17)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) was among nearly three dozen faith-based investors—all members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)—to support a shareholder proposal urging immediate climate action at oil giant ExxonMobil that is to be voted on at today’s annual meeting in Dallas.

The proposal, item no.12 on the company’s proxy ballot, calls on Exxon to align with the realities of a 2-degree Celsius or less energy market, as adopted in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The proposal asks ExxonMobil to disclose how resilient its reserves and strategy would be in a 2-degree environment.

Faith investors have led the charge to put climate risk on Exxon’s agenda, filing the first proposal on the topic of global warming in 1998. Despite persistent calls for the company to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, for many years, Exxon management refused to acknowledge that climate change existed. Two decades later, climate change is broadly recognized as a financial risk by most companies, and the investment community has increasingly moved to support climate proposals, with similar proposals at Occidental Petroleum and PPL Corp. garnering 67 percent and 57.2 percent, respectively, this month.

This year, ICCR members want Exxon to hear the call from shareholders that meaningful climate action addressing today’s 2-degree reality can no longer be postponed. A similar proposal last year gained the support of 38.2 percent of shareholders, despite being opposed by the company’s board. This proxy season, proxy advisors Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services have recommended support for the shareholder request.

Celebrating its 46th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, nongovernmental organizations and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $200 billion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability.

ABHMS is a founding member of ICCR.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.


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