There are many reasons why it’s important for companies to take action on climate change. Doing so will help make land more inhabitable, food supply more sustainable and quality of life for everyone generally better. But in the corporate world, none of that is what really gets people’s attention—it’s the bottom line that matters most. That’s why, according to The Guardian, a group of shareholders is taking action and demanding that Shell offer more transparency and take more significant action to slow carbon emissions.
A number of pension fund leaders backed a resolution at the company’s shareholder meeting demanding that Shell set new carbon targets that better align with the goals of the Paris climate accords. The Church of England, the Dutch pension fund Aegon and the UK pension organization Nest have all backed the proposal, which was originally drafted by Follow This, a Dutch campaign group that advocates for action against climate change.
“Investors have a choice,” Follow This founder Mark van Baal told The Guardian. “Vote for Shell’s ‘whatever world,’ or vote for the world of the Church of England, a world in which all companies set targets to limit climate change to well below 2C.”
The effort to force Shell into action on climate change has been an ongoing one, and it’s actually had an impact. This is the third year in a row that Follow This has brought a climate resolution to the oil company, and Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden has admitted that the campaign has played a role in convincing corporate leaders to act. As a result, Shell has pledged to reduce the carbon footprint of the energy it sells by 50 percent between now and 2050.
Zooming out, this activity at Shell is part of a much larger long-term movement, as everyone is looking to see more transparency on climate change from the corporate world.
“Regardless of the result at the Shell AGM, we strongly encourage all companies in this sector to clarify how they see their future in a low-carbon world,” a group of investors wrote in an open letter about the resolution.