WASHINGTON Feb 12 A group of investors with
combined assets of over $200 billion filed shareholder
resolutions on Wednesday with ten energy companies, including
Exxon Mobil and Southern Co, demanding they
disclose their strategies for competing in a lower-carbon
Led by the New York State Comptroller's office, which alone
handles $160 billion in assets, the investors focused on the
companies' "carbon asset risk," or the potential for their
carbon-intensive assets to lose value as market forces and
potential regulation threaten demand for fossil fuels and
The move is part of an ongoing effort by some major
institutional investors, coordinated by the sustainability
advocacy group Ceres and the Investor Network on Climate Risk,
that is focused on holding companies accountable for these
so-called "stranded assets."
The activists have been asking companies whose fortunes are
linked to fossil fuels to assess under both a business-as-usual
and a low-carbon scenario the risk of stranded assets and the
physical risk from the impacts of climate change.
"The energy companies we invest in need to go back to the
drawing board to determine the long-term financial risks that
climate change poses to their business plans," said New York
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
His office also filed shareholder resolutions with Devon
Energy Corp, an oil and gas producer based in Oklahoma,
and the Ohio-based utility FirstEnergy Corp.
The bank HSBC said in a 2013 report that the equity
valuation of some oil producers could drop by 40 to 60 percent
under a low-carbon scenario, in which countries take measures to
reach a long-term United Nations target for lower pollution.
In order for the world to achieve the UN-agreed goal of
limiting global temperature increases to 2 degrees C, the
International Energy Agency said last year that no more than a
third of the world's proven fossil fuels can be consumed by
"These companies are producing the vast majority of
climate-changing emissions and now is the time for them to
reduce risk," said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow,
which works on corporate social responsibility issues with
companies including Coca Cola, Chevron and HP.
"If they are not preparing to survive in a
carbon-constrained future, we expect shareholders will sit up
and take notice," Fugere said.
In December, a report by the non-profit Climate Disclosure
Project showed that many large U.S. companies, from oil majors
to retailers, are including the potential for carbon emissions
fees in their strategic plans.