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“Follow This” movement trying to make a greener Shell with new shareholder resolution

Translated from an article published in Dutch language on 21 Dec 2017 by Het Financieele Dagblad

Shareholder movement “Follow This” will vote on a resolution at the shareholders’ meeting of Shell next year designed to make the company greener.

Shell has confirmed that the resolution will be put on the agenda.

Earlier resolutions of the movement did not succeed, because a large majority of shareholders voted against it. Last year, only 6% of shareholders voted in favor of the Follow-This resolution.

The rest, including investors like Robeco, ABP and APG, felt, like Shell itself, that the resolution went too far because Shell has no control over the reduction of its customers’ emissions, the so-called Scope 3 emissions. ‘We could only meet it by selling fewer products. The resolution therefore weakens our competitive position ‘, said Shell CEO Ben van Beurden last year.

‘This time we expect more support’, says Mark van Baal of Follow This, who unveiled the new resolution on Wednesday and partly meets Shell’s previous objections.

Judge regularly

The new resolution asks the oil and gas multinational to set concrete quantifiable targets for its CO2 emissions that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement to keep global warming well below two degrees. ‘These targets must relate to greenhouse gas emissions from Shell’s activities and the use of its energy products’. The goals must be set for the long term (2050) and the medium term. Moreover, they must be quantitative and regularly assessed, according to the resolution.

However, Shell does not have to reduce its absolute CO₂ emissions, but the greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy produced.

‘A core of truth’

The resolution therefore fits better with Shell’s own plans. The company already responded to growing criticism from a number of shareholders last month who feel that Shell is doing too little to prevent global warming. For example, Shell announced the ambition to halve the CO₂ emissions of itself and those resulting from the use of its products, measured in grams of CO₂ per unit of energy produced, by 2050. The group says it acts in line with the Climate Agreement. from Paris at the end of 2015, according to CEO Van Beurden.

He said in a press conference that there was a ‘core of truth’ in the previous shareholder resolution of Follow This.

Voting advice

The shareholders’ meeting of Shell will take place in May 2018. About a month before, the company publishes the agenda and gives the board a voting advice on the various agenda items to be put to the vote.


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