ExxonMobil Sustainable Strategy 2011
|Company||Exxon Mobil Corporation|
|Sector||Oil and Gas|
|Subject(s)||Climate Change; Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Renewables; Sustainability Reporting|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Environmentally sustainable strategic plan|
WHEREAS, ExxonMobil has discussed an approach to “energy sustainability” that balances economic growth, social development and environmental integrity “so that future generations are not compromised by actions taken today” (2009 Corporate Citizenship Report). However, by its ongoing commitment to continued concentration on fossil fuel production, it shows its dependency on energy-sourcing that undermines the possibility of ever achieving this goal. The proponents of this resolution believe sustainability means, in effect, that we don’t take from the earth what we can’t return. They see energy sustainability as involving a kind of “Golden Rule” wherein we do not use up the earth’s non-renewable resources in ways that will jeopardize its future. They believe the Company’s words about sustainability must be accompanied by concrete
metrics and goals toward achieving it.
In its 2009 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency warned about the “dangerous increase in global temperatures and sharply higher oil and gas bills for consuming nations” if the world doesn’t change its present fossil fuel-based energy economy. It stated: “Continuing on today’s energy path . . . would mean rapidly increasing dependence on fossil fuels, with alarming consequences for climate change and energy security.” It said “the world is now on track for a six-degree-Celsius increase in global temperatures by later in this century” and that, in order to ensure that global temperatures be “around two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. . . demand for fossil fuels would have to peak by 2020” (WSJ 11.11.09).
Despite the IEA concern, ExxonMobil is committed to “continuing on today’s energy path.” XOM’s Outlook for Energy: A View to 2030 mentions nothing about changing its energy mix so that “demand for fossil fuels” will decline after 2020.Instead its future depends on increased demand for fossil fuels in ways that peer-reviewed scientists demonstrate will be simply unsustainable for people and our planet. Another negative impact undermining the possibility that XOM’s present approach reflects sustainability involves societal health. Besides harming the environment, burning XOM’s fossil fuels contributes to health expenditures. According to the National Academy of Sciences, burning fossil fuels costs the United States about $120 billion a year in health expenses, mostly because of thousands of premature deaths from air pollution (NYT, 10.20.09). Meanwhile, unlike XOM, many companies are finding a “fiduciary” and “business case” for developing clear metrics and goals vis-à-vis sustainability. They find it in their corporate interest given rising populations making greater demand on traditional energy sources like fossil fuels.
RESOLVED: shareholders request ExxonMobil’s Board of Directors to establish a Committee of independent and Company experts in climate and technology to make recommendations and report and can become the recognized industry leader in developing and making available the necessary technology and products to become an environmentally sustainable energy company at every level of its operation.