VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/3/16)—As a member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) co-filed climate change-related shareholder resolutions on May 25 at the annual meetings of three corporations: ExxonMobil, Chevron and Southern Co.
“ABHMS will continue to press corporations to meaningfully address the long-term risks of climate change,” says Michaele Birdsall, CPA, ABHMS’ deputy executive director, treasurer and chief financial officer. “The generations who will inherit the impact of decisions we make today are counting on us to be good stewards.”
Votes in favor of eight climate-related proposals on the ExxonMobil ballot sent a clear message that shareholders are dissatisfied with the manner in which ExxonMobil is adapting to the Paris Climate Agreement’s internationally accepted goal of limiting global warming temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. Receiving more than 60 percent support was a resolution calling for a change to the proxy access bylaw that would permit large shareholders to nominate directors.
“ExxonMobil’s annual meeting went very well, and we got a strong vote in support of the moral imperative resolution—18.5 percent,” says Mary Beth Gallagher, associate director of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, ABHMS’ consultant. “This surpassed our expectations and demonstrated the importance of the moral voice in the conversation about climate risk. Collectively, all the proposals did well and sent a very strong signal.”
Chevron investors received more than 41 percent shareholder support for a proposal calling for a report on the manner in which the 2 degrees Celsius scenario would impact Chevron’s energy portfolio.
The resolution to Southern Co. requested that the organization disclose its strategy for aligning business operations with the Paris Climate Agreement. The resolution received 34 percent of votes in favor, representing approximately $15 billion in investor assets, increasing pressure on Southern to share its plans for modifying its business model to meet the 2 degrees Celsius target.
ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, nongovernmental organizations and academic institutions representing combined assets of more than $100 billion with a record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on corporate policies that further justice and sustainability.
ABHMS is a founding member of ICCR.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on leadership, discipleship and healing communities.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.