Oil giant ExxonMobil will implement a shareholder resolution on climate change disclosure filed last May by the Church Commissioners for England and the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, ExxonMobil committed to provide information to shareholders on “energy demand sensitivities, implications of 2ºC scenarios, and positioning for a lower-carbon future”.

The resolution – which called on the company to report on how its portfolio of reserves and resources would be affected by efforts to limit the average rise in global temperatures – was passed by shareholders in defiance of the ExxonMobil board’s recommendation to vote against. A similar resolution had been defeated the previous year.

The 2017 resolution was backed by a coalition of institutional investors with a collective $12trn (€10trn) of assets under management, including Dutch pension managers APG and MN.

Edward Mason, head of responsible investment for the Church Commissioners, said: “We welcome ExxonMobil’s commitment to implement the resolution passed earlier this year and disclose the impact of measures to combat climate change on its portfolio.

“Climate change is one of the most significant long-term risks investors face, and it is essential that companies confront the challenge that it poses. We look forward to continuing to work with Exxon and others on this issue.”

However, Alice Garton, lawyer with environmental campaign group ClientEarth, said: “Exxon is being sued and investigated across the US for disinformation campaigns that have delayed action on climate change for 30 years, and we continue to see Exxon obstruct strong climate policy across the world.” 

Garton continued: “Agreeing to publish a ‘plan for a plan’ on climate disclosure this late in the day is not going to cut it. We need to see rigorous reporting, transformational internal climate policy and an end to the lobbying that throttles international climate progress. Let’s face it – fossil fuel intensive business models do not exist in a 2º world. Will the plan say that?”

ExxonMobil oil rig

ExxonMobil’s Ringhorne oil rig