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

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.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]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.[/perfectpullquote]

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:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]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.[/perfectpullquote]

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:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]
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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