Getting Big Oil to act on climate change
We work with investors to push the oil and gas industry to take meaningful climate action. We first filed shareholder resolutions at BP and Shell in 2009 asking the oil giants to stop investing in tar sands. Shell has since sold all of it tar sands assets. Since then, we have been using a wide range of tools to make sure that these and other Big Oil companies don’t jeopardise our future for short-term profits.
We use every tactic in the ShareAction toolkit, supported by allies across civil society and the investment industry, to drive ambition and climate action in Big Oil companies. Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved.
Why this is important and what we’re doing about it
The UN climate science body, the IPCC, released a landmark report in October 2018 (find out more here). It confirmed everything we knew already: to avert the worst consequences of climate change, the oil industry needs to massively scale down its investments in fossil fuels.
Failing to align Big Oil with the low-carbon transition quickly threatens the livelihoods, homes, and jobs of millions of people across the world. Encouragingly, the IPCC also highlighted the potential for non-state actors such as institutional investors, civil society, and scientific institutions to get together and organise for change – a strategy that has been at the core of ShareAction’s campaigns for years.
Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988 (find out why here). We believe that investors in these companies hold the key to solving climate change.
But a company’s carbon footprint is only half of the story. Many companies influence action on climate change by lobbying governments – both directly and through their trade associations. This is why we are challenging Big Oil companies to do two things:
- Develop a plan showing how they will align their business model with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement; and
- Lobby positively for a well-below 2°C world.
We use a toolkit of tactics to ensure this is taking place. Our toolkit starts with detailed analysis and research of Big Oil’s progress towards the low-carbon transition and then incorporates asking challenging questions at Annual General Meetings (AGMs) (find out more here), connecting pension schemes with members concerned about climate change, coordinating letters from investors concerned with Big Oil’s movement on climate change, as well as filing shareholder resolutions to encourage more ambitious progress.
Poorer communities are suffering the worst effects of the climate crisis, and have the least responsibility for causing it. We must ensure that we share the benefits of the low-carbon transition equitably, and distribute the burdens on the basis of who is able to pay.
The International Energy Agency has announced a new 1.5C scenario which doesn’t allow for any new oil and gas investments. Used right it’s an opportunity for companies and their investors to set a more meaningful road to net-zero.
ShareAction highlights gap between bank’s rhetoric and action on climate change
The investors say that Barclays’ energy policy is inconsistent with its climate ambitions
European auto makers in the slow lane on electric vehicle take-up – investors must accelerate action
To achieve global ambitions of net zero emissions the transport sector must be addressed, but despite a flurry of climate announcements by car manufacturers the sector is still falling short.
Electric Vehicle Fleets: An Impact Opportunity for Investors
Voting Matters: Are asset managers using their proxy votes for climate action?
Decarbonising Cement: The Role of Institutional Investors
Find out more
Senior Campaigns Officer - Fossil Fuels