Climate Resolutions Get Big Support from Shareholders
A resolution asking General Motors' board of directors to commit to hard goals for reducing greenhouse gases received votes representing 25.7 percent of the company's shares. The resolution requires a report on the company's plans by Sept. 30.
Miranda Anderson, a consultant at Ceres, said the G.M. resolution showed a massive increase in support from previous votes. Since 1998, resolutions at the company that sought even simply disclosure of emissions rates received only 3 to 7 percent approval. This year's vote represented a turning point. "If a resolution receives a quarter of shareholder votes, that's enough to make management stop and think about what steps it needs to take," Anderson told Environmental Finance.
And ExxonMobil stockholders backed a similar resolution -- asking the board to set quantitative goals for reducing GHG emissions from the company's operations and products -- was supported by 31 percent of the companies shares. Those supporters represented $121 billion worth of shares, several states' pension funds and the proxy advisory firms ISS and Glass, Lewis & Co., according to Ceres spokesman Peyton Fleming.
Even though the climate resolution was largely supported, only 7 percent of shares voted to force ExxonMobil board member Michael Boskin to step down. Boskin chairs the company's public issues committee and the supporters of that resolution said Boskin has refused to meet with shareholders five different times to discuss climate change issues.
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