Chevron shareholders voted Wednesday to approve a proposal requiring additional climate-related lobbying disclosures by the giant energy company, marking a major victory for climate activists.
The proposal adopted at the annual meeting requests that Chevron's board of directors issue a report within the next year describing how the company's lobbying activities "align with the goal of limiting average global warming" to a level prescribed by the Paris climate accord, according to the proxy statement.
"The report should also address the risks presented by any misaligned lobbying and the company’s plans, if any, to mitigate these risks" both through direct lobbying as well as through trade associations, the shareholders said.
The 53 percent approval vote by Chevron's shareholders marks a watershed moment for activists who have been pushing for decades to get oil and gas companies to disclose more about their activities related to the environment through the shareholder proposal process. The move also comes as the SEC is considering finalizing sweeping changes to how the shareholder advisory and proxy voting process works.
The vote was heralded by Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit that has been heavily engaged on the issue. Ceres senior director of oil and gas Andrew Logan said the vote “puts Chevron, and companies everywhere, on notice that investors view lobbying as a critical part of a company’s core climate strategy."
“Majority votes on climate resolutions are here to stay, and companies had better get used to them," Logan said in a statement.
Chevron spokesperson Sean Comey said in an emailed statement: "Chevron’s board of directors will carefully consider the voting results of the annual meeting and will continue to engage with our investors on these important issues."
Ceres said it's watching similar resolutions on climate-related lobbying disclosures at the general meetings for General Motors and Caterpillar in the next two weeks.