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Shareholders Urge Shell to Set Tighter Climate Targets

Written by on January 17, 2024

A group of 27 investors that own around 5% of Shell’s shares has co-filed an independent resolution urging the energy company to set tighter climate targets, the biggest such drive to date.

The resolution, led by the activist shareholder organization Follow This, will be brought to a vote at Shell’s annual general meeting later this year.

The effort to ratchet up pressure on Shell’s climate strategy comes as CEO Wael Sawan seeks to boost the company’s profits, partly by slowing down investments in renewables and growing fossil fuel production.

FILE - Wael Sawan, Shell CEO, takes part in a conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 2, 2023.
FILE – Wael Sawan, Shell CEO, takes part in a conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 2, 2023.

The group of investors, which collectively hold around $4 trillion under management, include Amundi, Scottish Widows, Rathbones Group and Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management, Follow This said in a statement.

The resolution, which is similar to previous resolutions by Follow This, urges Shell to align its medium-term carbon emissions reduction targets with the Paris Climate Agreement, including emissions from fuels burnt by consumers, known as Scope 3 emissions.

Shell currently aims to halve emissions from its operations by 2030 and reduce the intensity of its overall emissions, including Scope 3.

Last year, a similar resolution submitted by Follow This won the backing of 20% of shareholders at the end of a raucous AGM where protesters tried to storm the stage.

“We urge Shell to set a credible Scope 3 absolute emissions target. This would demonstrate leadership, show Shell is serious about transitioning its business, and play a role in generating real world change,” said Diandra Soobiah, head of responsible investment at British pension scheme NEST.

Shell said in response that its climate targets are aligned with the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

“Shell’s Board has previously advised shareholders that the Follow This resolution was unrealistic and simplistic, that it would have no impact on mitigating climate change, have negative consequences for our customers, and was against the interests of the company and our shareholders,” Shell said in a statement.

Sawan, who took the helm in January 2023, said last year that Shell is changing its “pathway” towards meeting its ambition to become a net-zero carbon emitting company by 2050.

Shell will publish its first energy transition strategy update in early 2024, which will be brought to an advisory vote at the AGM, it said.


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