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Shareholders Withdraw ConocoPhillips Climate Change Proposal

In response to today’s announcement by ConocoPhillips that it will support a mandatory federal policy to cap greenhouse gas emissions and take other measures to reduce its climate impact, Trillium Asset Management Corporation will withdraw a shareholder proposal encouraging the company to invest more in developing low- and zero-carbon technologies.
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Apr 11, 2007

BOSTON – In response to today’s announcement by ConocoPhillips that it will support a mandatory federal policy to cap greenhouse gas emissions and take other measures to reduce its climate impact, Trillium Asset Management Corporation will withdraw a shareholder proposal encouraging the company to invest more in developing low- and zero-carbon technologies.

“This is a vast improvement from where the company was when we filed our first climate change resolution four years ago. ConocoPhillips has started to think strategically about climate change,” said Shelley Alpern, Director of Social Research and Advocacy at Trillium Asset Management.

Although disappointed that the company has yet to commit substantial R&D resources to developing wind and solar technologies as its peers BP, Shell and Chevron have done, Alpern said the decision to withdraw was based on the “promise of the initiatives announced yesterday and the pledge by CEO Jim Mulva that more efforts are underway. We will continue to press ConocoPhillips not to cede the entire no-carbon energy market to its competitors. It’s frustrating to see them investing in carbon-intensive oil sands and oil shale projects when the market for renewable energy is just beginning to break through.”

"This is a major step forward. The fact that a major US oil company CEO is calling for aggressive federal limits on global warming pollution demonstrates that the debate on this issue is over," said Andrew Logan, oil program director at Ceres, a leading coalition of investors and environmental groups that has been engaging with oil companies the past few years to boost their attention to climate change business impacts. "Companies like ConocoPhillips realize that we need to act quickly to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, and that doing so makes good business sense."

The ConocoPhillips resolution was among 42 climate-related shareholder resolutions were filed with US companies as part of the 2007 proxy season, the highest number of resolutions ever. The resolutions, coordinated by the Ceres investor coalition and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), were filed with oil producers, electric power companies, coal providers, automakers, insurance companies, banks, retail chains and major builders.

ConocoPhillips announced today that it is joining the United States Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of ten corporations and four nonprofit organizations, which has called for a mandatory national framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 to 80 percent by 2050. Also announced were:

  • A $150 million annual commitment to alternative fuels research that includes biofuels, although no amount appears to be earmarked for developing zero-carbon energy sources
  • The incorporation of carbon costs into capital spending plans going forward
  • A refinery energy efficiency reduction target of 10% by 2012, and
  • The development of internal targets for greenhouse gas emissions.

Trillium Asset Management Corporation is Boston-based investment firm specializing in socially responsible investment, with $1 billion under management for institutional and individual clients.

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