Exxon And Chevron Climate Change Votes – What Is 33% Of Investors?

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An interesting question here – just what is 33% of the vote at a corporate meeting? My suspicion is that we’ve got some malarkey going on with our definitions. But I am willing to admit to error on this.

The report is that some 33% of the vote at a Chevron shareholder meeting was in favour of summat about climate change. And, well, dunno.

Shareholders also defeated measures calling for a special board committee on climate change and for a report on the risks of climate change to Exxon’s U.S. Gulf Coast chemical plants.

Well, OK, shareholders own the company, what they want to do with it is up to them. But I’ve also received an email which says this:

San Ramon, California—May 29, 2019—Today, 33% of investors at Chevron Corporation’s annual meeting voted in support of a shareholder resolution asking the company to report on how it plans to reduce its full range of greenhouse gas emissions and transition its business model to align with a decarbonizing energy market. Also today, at Exxon’s annual meeting, 25% of investors voted in support of a shareholder resolution asking the company to issue a report assessing the public health risks of expanding petrochemical operations in areas increasingly prone to climate change-induced storms, flooding, and sea level rise. Both resolutions were filed by As You Sow.

Well, yes. So, what are our definitions here? 33% of the equity, each share having one vote? That would be amazing. 33% of shareholders – including whatever number of people who have bought one share in order to be able to protest? That would be less amazing. 33% of shareholders who actually turned up to the annual meeting? Those one piece of stock people who are willing to go there to protest?

I have asked the people producing the press release what they mean. Don’t actually expect a clarification but, you know, maybe.

And I have an answer:

Thanks for your interest. The answer to your question is:
33% of voted shares were in favor.
Many shares are voted in advance of the meeting – physical presence is not necessary. And yes, large investors have more shares with which to vote.

Which is the point at which I say I am surprised. Still, their company, they do as they wish.

 

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