Pension funds and asset managers behind a climate shareholder resolution at Shell have urged their peers to vote with them, saying the oil and gas major had to contribute its “fair share to climate solutions”.

The call for voting support was articulated in an investor briefing that coincides with Shell’s latest quarterly results today, with the company announcing a $3.5bn share buyback following strong earnings.

Shell is the only oil major this year to face a resolution requesting alignment of its emission reduction targets with the Paris Agreement, a point the authors of the briefing said would mean the votes it receives “will resonate across the industry”.

Shell’s AGM is scheduled for 21 May; it has urged shareholders to vote against the resolution co-filed by a group of 27 institutional investors, saying that, if approved, it would have a “material negative financial impact on the company and its ambition to be the investment case through the energy transition”.

In their briefing, the investors, a sub-section of the co-filing group, said the vote was especially important as Shell had recently backtracked on its climate targets, and that the company’s position that it had Paris-aligned targets was “unfounded”.

MN, the asset manager of Dutch pension fund PMT and the lead Shell investor for Climate Action 100+, last month pre-declared its intention to vote in favour of the shareholder resolution, saying it did not see Shell’s push for a 20-30% growth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production as being aligned with pathways to achieving the Paris goals. 

“The resolution is not only about the imperative of addressing climate change, but also about preserving investors’ financial bottom line”

Signed by major investors including Amundi, AXA Investment Managers, Brunel Pension Partnership, Ethos Foundation and Pension Protection Fund, the briefing also states that this year’s shareholder resolution was significant because it was “written by investors, for investors”.

“Drafted from this perspective, it focuses on the key concerns of the investment community, highlighting the key risks to both the company and investors’ portfolios overall,” they wrote.

They said “both fiduciary duty and climate science indicate that it is a fair ask to request Shell to align its medium-term emissions reduction targets with the Paris Climate Agreement”.

They argued that action in line with the shareholder resolution would protect the long-term value of asset managers’ entire investment portfolios.

“This briefing aims to make clear that the resolution is not only about the imperative of addressing climate change, but also about preserving investors’ financial bottom line and upholding their fiduciary responsibility to their beneficiaries.

“A vote in favour of the climate resolution at Shell is therefore warranted by all other investors who share this concern.”

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