Swiss BVK continues to commit to climate and social goals despite struggles | New

Switzerland’s largest pension fund, BVK, continues its plan of engagement on ESG topics, with the latest actions exposing the difficult reality that sometimes leads to changes in corporate sustainability policies and controversial projects.

BVK has backed nonprofit Majority Action’s call to replace Chevron CEO Michael Wirth and lead director Ronald Sugar at its May 25 annual general meeting for failing to respond adequately to resolutions. shareholders on greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and climate lobbying, it said.

The company’s current board has failed to adequately address shareholder concerns over climate actions, he said, adding that the company lacks ambitious CO targets.2 reductions, despite the fact that a shareholder proposal on more ambitious CO emissions2 objectives were adopted at the company’s annual general meeting in 2021.

But at the last annual general meeting, shareholders refused to approve a proposed report on the impact of a net zero 2050 scenario with 61% of votes against and 38.7% in favor, according to documents filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

They also voted against a proposed report on business with governments complicit in conflict with 87.6% against and 12.4% for, and a proposed report on the racial equality audit (47, 5% for and 52.5% against). ), depending on the repositories.

Last year, 61% of shareholders voted for a climate proposal asking Chevron to reduce GHG emissions from its energy products (Scope 3). The council responded by pledging to reduce its carbon intensity by just 5% by 2028.

This year, only 32.6% of shareholders voted in favor of adopting medium- and long-term GHG reduction targets, and 67.4% against, according to the SEC.

In a statement released after the shareholders’ meeting, Majority Action chief executive Eli Kasargod-Staub said: “It appears that the big asset managers likely voted to shield Chevron’s board from harm. accountability, which could prevent key votes from achieving majority support.”

He added, “Affected shareholders showed extraordinary leadership ahead of today’s shareholder meeting, with pension fund executives from California to Massachusetts publicly declaring their opposition to the re-election of Chevron directors. due to insufficient responsiveness to climate concerns.”

At Exxon Mobil’s annual general meeting on May 25, a majority of shareholders backed a resolution by Christian Brothers Investment Services, an investment and advisory firm, urging the company to quantify the consequences of actions taken to reach net zero, based on the roadmap established by the International Energy Agency, through an audited report.

According to the shareholder resolution, ExxonMobil continues to develop fossil fuel resources without providing investors with sufficient information about stranded assets and energy transition risk.

It is precisely the integration of financial consequences into corporate reporting that allows investors such as BVK to assess the company’s climate risks, the Swiss pension fund said in a statement.

A comparison with other companies in the industry shows that Exxon still has some catching up to do on this front, leaving shareholders largely in the dark about the financial impact of the necessary corporate transformation, he said. added.

At last year’s AGM, BVK voted to appoint three new Exxon board members. the fund has also engaged with Enbridge Energy Partners, which owns 27.6% of Bakken’s pipeline system, consisting of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline (ETCOP).

The Dakota Access Pipeline runs 1,172 miles from North Dakota to Illinois through the land of Native Americans opposed to the project.

In its ESG objectives, Enbridge has set a target that 28% of its workforce be from racial and ethnic backgrounds and have 20% representation of racial and ethnic backgrounds at the board level.

As an investor, BVK believes that Enbridge has made a significant contribution by engaging with local communities and developing best practice policies that take into account their rights, but the DAPL remains a controversial project, it said. he declares.

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