Shareholders Convince Chevron to Track Product Carbon Content

Shareholders Convince Chevron to Track Product Carbon Content

A group of faith-based investors will back off a resolution it filed to get Chevron to track its products’ carbon contents after the oil company agreed to comply.

The Sisters of St. Dominic commended Chevron for being the largest company to voluntarily track product carbon content, and pointed out another oil giant -- ExxonMobil -- is still resisting similar proposals.

“As shareholders, we appreciate the difficulties that Chevron management faces in the long-term in confronting the task to reduce GHG emissions,” Sister Patricia Daly, executive director of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment and a member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), said in a statement. “The recent advancements Chevron has made in reducing its carbon footprint and preparing the company for viability in a low-carbon business environment cannot be ignored.”

Daly made the announcement the day before Chevron’s annual stockholders meeting, where reports suggest it may address concerns about a legal case in Ecuador that could lead to a multi-billion dollar judgment against the company. The case stems from alleged environmental violations committed by Texaco, which Chevron later acquired.

Carbon-intensive companies in recent months have felt increasing shareholder pressure to communicate to investors the financial and physical risks they may face from climate change and future regulation.

Earlier this month, for example, about 30.5 percent of ConocoPhillips shareholders voted to make the company account for the potential environmental damage created by its Canadian tar sands development, which represents one of the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive forms of oil exploration.

Nearly 46 percent of Massey Energy’s shareholders recently voted in favor of a climate change resolution, while last week, 52 percent of shareholders at Idaho Power voted in favor of the company establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and report on its strategy to meet its targets.

More than 60 climate change resolutions were filed with nearly 60 U.S. companies and one Canadian company as part of the 2009 proxy season, according to the nonprofit Ceres. The coalition of investors, NGOs and public organizations included Chevron, ExxonMobil and Massey Energy on a “Climate Watch” list of companies lagging behind their industry peers in addressing climate change risks.

Others on the list include Southern, Consol Energy, Ultra Petroleum, Canadian Natural Resources, General Motors and Standard Pacific.