The SEC has decided that Exxon does not have to allow its shareholders to vote on a company proposal to make public its goals for lowering CO2 emissions. This move is in reaction to a push by activist investors and led by the New York state comptroller to have Exxon set annual targets which will reach the goals prescribed by the international Paris climate agreement of 2015.
In January Exxon requested the SEC disallow a vote on the proposal to disclose such climate-oriented goals. The SEC answered this week, stating that it would not recommend the SEC to take any enforcement action against Exxon if the company decides to keep the proposal out of May’s annual shareholder meeting.
Activists say they want to vote on the issue to compel Exxon to be more responsible and accountable about climate change.
A lawyer for the SEC said the oversite agency decided in Exxon’s favor because the proposal would “micromanage” the company and harm the value and supplant the judgement of Exxon managers and directors.