The Dutch pension fund for workers in the metals industry, PMT, has sold its stake in ExxonMobil after it failed to convince the oil major to align its policies with the Paris Agreement.

PME, the sister fund of €87bn PMT, already dumped its shares in ExxonMobil in 2018 following a failed engagement effort. PMT’s pension asset manager MN had been engaging in an “intensive dialogue” with ExxonMobil since 2017, PMT said in a press statement.

PMT wrote last year in its sustainability report for 2019 that the oil firm refused to report on its scope 3 COemissions. These are the emissions of the products the company sells, which for ExxonMobil is by far the largest source of its COemissions.

ExxonMobil also refused to pin itself down on concrete targets for a reduction of scope 1 and 2 emissions.

In 2019, PMT tabled a resolution together with the Church Commissioners for England and other shareholders and pressure group Follow This in an effort to force ExxonMobil to adopt a more ambitious climate policy.

However, this was to no avail as the resolution was blocked for inclusion in the agenda of ExxonMobil’s AGM by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which said shareholders should not engage in ‘micro management’.

Last year, MN and PMT nevertheless continued to pursue the engagement dialogue with ExxonMobil, but the pair have now given up. Engagement dialogues normally tend to last at least three years.

The value of PMT’s shares in ExxonMobil stood at €150.9m at the end of 2019. By the end of 2020, this had fallen to €89m.

ExxonMobil has been under persistent criticism for years, mainly from European investors as it lags behind its peers in combating climate change. Legal & General Investment Management was the latest to do so by voting against the re-election of the chair of the oil and gas major’s board of directors last year.

“I think many more responsible pension funds at on the verge of selling their stakes in ExxonMobil, because the company’s behaviour does not fit with a sustainable investment policy,” said Mark van Baal of Follow This.

He added, however, that this is not something he’d like to see. “It would be a shame, as these pension funds would then no long have any influence on ExxonMobil.”

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