UK investors tell Shell it’s time to comply with the Paris climate goals  

Major UK investors with over £28 billion AUM have today come out in support of a resolution at Shell which asks the company to set greenhouse gas intensity targets aligned with the Paris climate goals.

Sarasin & Partners, the Church in Wales, and Ealing, Islington and Lewisham pension funds, coordinated by ShareAction, are announcing early that they will cast their votes in support of Shell becoming the first oil major to comply with the Paris climate goals at the company’s AGM on 22 May.

Separately, the Church of England Pensions Board and the Environment Agency Pension Fund have also announced their support for the Follow This resolution.

Today’s investor announcements follow a series of declarations in support of the Follow This resolution by Dutch investors such as AEGON and Actiam, the second and eighth largest investors in the Netherlands, Shell’s home country.

ShareAction’s analysis shows that Shell’s stated ambition on climate change, whilst welcome, remains insufficient to align the company with the Paris climate goals. Further, ShareAction has noted that incentives for Shell executives do not yet support the company’s purported low-carbon ambition.

The resolution was filed by more than 3,600 retail investors, as well as ShareAction, and is coordinated by Dutch investor group Follow This. Similar shareholder resolutions were filed at Shell in 2016 and 2017, each year gaining more investor support. Last year’s resolution prompted Shell’s management team in November to announce an ambition of reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of its activities and products by around 20% by 2035 and by around half by 2050.

Jeanne Martin, Senior Campaigns Officer at ShareAction, says: “The lead being shown by these investors shows they are serious about managing the financial risks of climate change and discharging their fiduciary duties with a clear focus on the long term. It’s the long term that matters for pension savers and for communities.

“Shell’s net zero ambition lacks a convincing accountability framework. Clear targets are needed and will help the company navigate a challenging and uncertain energy future. We sincerely hope that today’s investor announcement will encourage other fiduciary investors to support this important resolution.”

Natasha Landell-Mills, Head of Stewardship & Partner at Sarasin & Partners, says: “On behalf of our clients, long-term investors in Shell, we welcome the Board’s support for the Paris Climate Accord, and its decision to set targets not only for its own greenhouse gas emissions, but also for emissions generated from the consumption of the oil and gas it produces. Shell has shown creditable leadership in acknowledging that it has a role to play in delivering a stable planet, which is clearly in shareholders long-term interests. We are, therefore, keen to see the Board not just support the Paris Accord, but commit itself to manage the business in line with the goal of limiting warming to well below 2°C. The Follow This shareholder resolution seeks precisely this commitment, and thus deserves shareholder support.”

Richard Greening, Chair of Islington Council Pension Fund, says: “The Follow This resolution is a really positive resolution that has the company’s interests at its core. It wants Shell to bulletproof its business model against any climate-related risks and move to a position that is good for its business and for the planet. Given their duties to protect members’ long-term savings, I’d like to urge UK pension funds to act on their duty and come out in support of the resolution.”

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Notes to editors:

  • For more information, please contact Beau O’Sullivan on beau.osullivan@shareaction.org or +44203 475 7859 / +447950 299 491
  • ShareAction is a campaigning organisation with a mission to turn the investment system into one that truly serves savers, communities, and protects our environment for the long term. ShareAction has been coordinating UK investors around resolution 19.
  • Follow This is a Dutch investor group that support Shell to take leadership in the energy transition to a net-zero-emission energy system.
  • The Shell AGM will be held on 22 May in the Hague.
  • Click here to learn more about Shell’s reaction to the resolution.
Beau O'SullivanUK investors tell Shell it’s time to comply with the Paris climate goals