Exxon has polluted Texans’ air, water, and communities for years. Texans are feeling the impacts of climate change more acutely than ever — drought, and most recently severe flooding. Let’s show that we’re through with Exxon’s pollution, deception, and greed.
Shareholders have all the evidence they need — Exxon has lied to them about the financial risks of climate change since 1977. Exxon robbed humanity of half a century’s worth of time to fight climate change, and their core business model relies on wrecking our communities and the climate.
Join us on May 25th to demand that shareholders like our state pension funds stop owning Exxon’s deception and destruction — we’re calling on them to divest.
HERE ARE THE DETAILS:
WHAT: Divest from Deception #ExxonKnew Rally WHEN: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 7:30 AM WHERE: Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center – 2301 Flora St, Dallas, Texas 75201
Big news broke last fall: Exxon knew about climate change in the 1970’s. Since then, new info has come to light showing they knew even earlier — half a century ago. They deceived the public, misled their shareholders, and robbed humanity of a generation’s worth of time to reverse climate change. Just as Big Tobacco lied about the risks of addiction and cancer, Exxon orchestrated a campaign of doubt and deception, making hundreds of billions at the cost of people’s lives — now it’s time for them to face the consequences.
#ExxonKnew is a call to hold them accountable and shine a light on this case of blatant fraud. A wide range of organizations and individuals have joined the effort calling on the U.S. Department of Justice and State Attorneys General to investigate Exxon, and others are urging their institutions to divest from Exxon. Click here for more.
What are you hoping to achieve?
Our public institutions, like the state pension funds of Texas, New York, Vermont, and California, currently hold shares in Exxon. Many of them — plus the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) — have pushed resolutions urging Exxon to disclose the financial risks of climate change, as well as other climate resolutions. But so far, Exxon has stymied every effort on the part of shareholders to affect change within the company. Click here to Exxon’s 25 years of “no.”
Even if Exxon did agree to report on climate risk, shareholders won’t be able to change a business plan that is fundamentally incompatible with staying under the international target to stay under 2 degrees of warming.
Exxon’s core business model relies on wrecking our communities and the climate — and Exxon will not change it’s core business model. We want shareholders to see that engaging with the fossil fuel industry will not work: for the sake of people, planet, and pensioners, shareholders must divest.
What about shareholder engagement?
To avoid catastrophic climate change, we need to keep 80 percent of fossil fuels in the ground — and that means disrupting the fossil fuel industry’s core business model. Shareholder engagement cannot change the fossil fuel industry’s core business model, which relies on wrecking our communities and the climate. Here’s why we think shareholder engagement is not a worthwhile tactic:
Engagement has never worked on this issue. There have been no significant direct reductions in the production of fossil fuels achieved through shareholder advocacy over the last two decades. There is no evidence that engagement is an effective tool to prohibit the fossil fuel industry from growing their core business, producing fossil fuels.
The SEC does not recognize resolutions that inhibit the core business of a company. If the goal is to keep 80% of fossil fuels underground, engagement is an insufficient tool. Shareholder advocacy has succeeded when investors press companies to make changes in their supply chain or in their sustainability policies, but not in changing their core business model.
We’ve run out of time. The two core elements of shareholder engagement are an “ask” and a “timeline” – what you want the company to do and by when. No engagement strategy meets the size and urgency of the climate challenge. Significant corporate changes from shareholder advocacy typically take years and only involve target companies.
Trust dirty energy when they tell you they won’t stop production. Fossil fuel companies have shown no inclination or ability to lead a transition to a cleaner economy. In fact, in the last decade, many oil and gas companies have sold their wind and solar operations and have publicly stated they plan on burning all of their reserves — and more.
Even if you think engagement has potential, divest anyway. Technically, you can divest everything and hold onto the minimum for the companies you have the capacity to address through engagement. SEC Rule 14a-8 states, investors need to have held $2,000 worth of a company for one year before you can file a shareholder proposal. Investors can divest and participate in shareholder resolutions by holding an insignificant (from a risk perspective) amount of stock. Most of the pension systems attending the shareholder meeting have Exxon as their top investment.
For more, click here to see Exxon’s 25 years of avoiding shareholder engagement tactics. Click here to see climate resolutions that will be discussed at this year’s annual general meeting.
Will there be civil disobedience?
There will be a rally outside the shareholder meeting, but we will not be asking participants to take part in civil disobedience.
Why mobilize on May 25th?
On May 25th, Exxon’s shareholders are gathering for the annual general meeting (AGM) where Exxon and its shareholders will discuss the company’s performance and strategy. This is our chance to tell shareholders loud and clear: #ExxonKnew. It’s time to divest from climate deception.
Will I lose money if my state’s pension fund divests?
Fossil fuel companies have had a rough couple of years. In fact, coal, oil and gas are the worst performing sectors over the last five years. Major pension funds have lost millions, even billions, on their fossil fuel holdings in the last year. Even if oil prices rebound in the near term, bringing oil stocks up with them, a decision to divest should rest on the claim that fossil fuel companies will prove to be bad investments over the long-term; and pension funds are long-term investors. Divestment from fossil fuels is not only the right thing to do, it’s proving to be the smart thing to do too.
If your organization would like to support this action, click here.