Target: Josh Zinner, CEO, Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility
Goal: Applaud the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility for letting Exxon shareholders vote on the corporation taking responsibility for its role in climate change.
The SEC has ruled that Exxon must allow its shareholders to vote on whether to adopt new company policies admitting to its responsibility to global climate change, and acting to limit global temperature rise to two degrees. Further, the vote may compel Exxon to reveal how its business will be affected by global commitments to mitigate climate change, and how much the corporation has spent on climate-change-denying organizations. This ruling comes ahead of Exxon’s annual shareholders meeting, and after the Rockefeller Foundation divested itself of shares in oil companies including Exxon.
The seven measures that shareholders will now vote on are sponsored by the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, an umbrella organization including many pension funds, faith-based institutions, universities, and unions. The measures were submitted in December by the New York Comptroller, the Church of England Investment Fund, the Vermont State Employees Retirement System, the University of California Retirement Plan, and the Brainerd Foundation.
Arguing against letting shareholders vote on the proposals relating to the effect of 2015’s Paris Agreement on the corporation’s business, Exxon claimed that the proposals were too vague and that it had already answered the question posed by them. These are two arguments that are as contradictory as they are inaccurate. Further, the corporation claimed that emission limits that would keep global warming to two degrees are unlikely, cynically doubling down on the idea that our society will not transition away from fossil fuels. The truth is that we are more likely to be able to effectively fight climate change if fossil fuel companies were honest about the viability of their current model given effective action to mitigate the damage we are causing. Sign our petition and let us congratulate the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility for championing transparency and letting the Exxon shareholders show us whether they are ready to make Exxon take responsibility for its role in the climate crisis.
Dear Mr. Zinner,
I would like to congratulate the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility for its commitment to holding corporate entities to a high moral standard, and demanding transparency. Exxon Mobil has a history of deception on the subject of climate change; therefore, it is important that those invested in Exxon make sure the company takes responsibility for its role in the climate crisis. When that is on record, along with the extent of funding that Exxon provides climate change deniers, it will be far easier to move past bad-faith debates on the existence of the climate crisis, towards finding a solution. It should also be far easier to prove that Exxon’s current business model, along with the business models of its competitors, are fundamentally incompatible with mitigating climate change.
The Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility has joined the Rockefeller Foundation in making it clear that business as usual is not an option and that fossil fuel companies can not continue to pretend that the dealing with the climate crisis will have no effect on their business model. After 25 years, given the right vote, Exxon may well admit its role in climate change and discredit climate change denial. Thank you for your efforts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Mike Mozart