Vandaag vergroeningsdag Shell?

23 mei 2017Vandaag stemmen de aandeelhouders van Shell in Scheveningen over de ‘vergroeningsresolutie’ van Follow This. Follow This is een groep ‘groene’ aandeelhouders van Shell die Shell willen bewegen de leiding te nemen in de energietransitie.

De Follow This resolutie (in samenvatting): ‘Shareholders support Shell to take leadership in the energy transition to a net-zero-emission energy system and therefore request Shell to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement.’

Gisteren waarschuwde Shell-CEO Ben van Beurden in een interview van de Financial Times Donald Trump toch vooral vast te houden aan het Klimaatakkoord van Parijs.
Toch heeft Shell zijn eigen aandeelhouders geadviseerd tegen de Follow This-resolutie te stemmen (die Shell ook vraagt zich aan ‘Parijs’ te committeren).

Uit een toelichtend bericht van Follow This
‘(…) Investors in Shell will decide whether they mean business about climate change, as they cast their votes for Resolution #21, which requests Shell to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement.

Growing support for green Shell-resolution
Institutional investors and a proxy advisor express support for a shareholder resolution that asks Shell to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement. Other Dutch shareholders are likely to follow.

VEB joins supporters of Follow This’s green Shell resolution
The Dutch investors’ association VEB supports Follow This’s resolution. “The position of the VEB shows that participating in the energy transition is much more than a legal or moral obligation; it is simply good for the value of the shares that shareholders own.”
The Swiss Ethos Foundation, representing more than 220 Swiss pension funds and institutional investors, has also urged Shell shareholders to vote for the resolution.
ECGS, the main independent proxy firm in continental Europe as a joint-venture of several independent proxy firms, has decided to recommend that investors vote for Follow This’s shareholder proposal at Shell.

Institutional investors
Actiam (€56bn), Blue Sky Group (€20.5bn), and Ecofi Investissements (€9.5bn) have already expressed their support. Blue Sky Group explains its vote for the resolution by referring to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI, the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment). The Dutch institutional investor MN (€114bn) called the resolution a “fair ask”.

Institutional Investors
Institutional investors who are member of Eumedion, the representative of Dutch institutional investors whose clientele include an estimated quarter of Shell shareholders could vote for the resolution as well, because the wording of the shareholder resolution conforms seamlessly to the most recent position statement of Eumedion concerning the Paris Agreement. (Members of Eumedion, including foreign investors such as BlackRock, represent according to Eumedion a quarter of the Dutch stock market.)

Position Statement of Eumedion
Eumedion writes in this position statement that “participants of Eumedion urge companies to provide an overview of the efforts to help deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement.” The shareholder resolution of Follow This states: “Shareholders support Shell to take leadership in the energy transition and therefore set targets that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.” Eumedion provided feedback on drafts of the Resolution.

VBDO
The Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) also expressed support for the green Shell resolution of Follow This.

Support of large investors
Follow This expects many shareholders to vote for the resolution because the text of the resolution fully supports their investment policies concerning sustainability and transparency about the contributions that companies make to the Paris climate agreement. “With input from large shareholders, our resolution team has written a carefully formulated text that everyone who believes in change can vote for, without shareholders sitting in the driver’s seat.”

Shell’s response to resolution 21
Shell’s most important objection is that the resolution deprives the company of flexibility, writes the board in its response in the agenda for the upcoming shareholders’ meeting.
In fact, the resolution only asks Shell to set a strategic goal and then gives the company broad flexibility in setting and achieving targets that will lead to a net-zero emissions world. The resolution is agnostic concerning business models and technology. For example, Shell’s ambition to replace coal with natural gas can easily be incorporated in emission reduction targets.

Force for good
Had Shell recommended voting for the resolution, the company would have bound itself unambiguously to the Paris Climate Agreement. Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden wants Shell to be seen once again as a “force for good,” a company that makes a positive contribution to society.
“We believe that Shell can be a force for good,” says Mark van Baal. “Shell needs the support of its shareholders in order to take on that role. That support is what we are organising.”

We continue to applaud all the positive steps that Shell is taking in the energy transition, such as setting up their New Energies Divison, through which the company invests in biofuels, hydrogen, and wind power.

Faith in Shell
Shell writes that they have ‘a clear strategy, resilient in a 2°C world’. Shareholders have the right to know the details of this strategy. Shell claims that they are ‘unique in having a broader set of business options … than any other company in our sector.’ Follow This agrees with this; apparently we have more faith in Shell than Shell has in themselves.”

Business opportunities
Follow This again highlights to Shell management the business opportunities offered by the energy transition. “It is becoming increasingly expensive to get oil out of the ground, while the costs of alternatives such as solar panels and wind turbines are dropping exponentially. In many places in the world, for example the North Sea, renewables can compete with fossil fuels without subsidies.” (…)’

Tweede keer dat Follow This een resolutie op de agenda heeft gekregen

Uit een bericht van de NRC
‘(…) Het is de tweede keer dat Follow This een resolutie op de agenda van de aandeelhoudersvergadering weet te krijgen. De oproep vorig jaar aan Shell om te stoppen met het zoeken naar nieuwe olie- en gasvoorraden en de winsten van de huidige winning te investeren in duurzame energie, kreeg slechts 2 procent van de aandeelhouders achter zich.

Dit jaar is de resolutie, mede op instigatie van een aantal pensioenfondsen, breder opgesteld en zal, naar verwachting, breder worden gesteund. Volgens Follow This „staat een meerderheid van de aandeelhouders in principe achter de resolutie die van Shell doelstellingen vraagt die overeenkomen met het klimaatakkoord van Parijs”. Veel grote institutionele beleggers, zoals pensioenfondsen, onderschrijven de uitkomst van de klimaatconferentie, eind 2015 in Parijs, waar wereldwijd werd afgesproken om de opwarming van de aarde te beperken tot maximaal 2 graden, en bij voorkeur 1,5 graad. Bijna allemaal hebben ze inmiddels eigen duurzaamheidsbeleid geformuleerd.

Maar dat betekent nog niet dat ze ook daadwerkelijk vóór zullen stemmen. Ten eerste omdat Shell dat zelf ontraadt. Het bedrijf noemt de motie „contraproductief”. De fossiele brandstof aardgas – die minder CO2 uitstoot dan steenkool en olie – moet juist een belangrijke rol spelen in de transitie, zegt Shell tegen zijn aandeelhouders. „Wij zijn voldoende flexibel om relevant en succesvol te blijven, hoe de energietransitie ook verloopt. Maar door ons nu al, in dit vroege stadium, vast te leggen op concrete doelen, ondermijnen we die flexibiliteit.” (…)’

Bronnen
Follow This, toelichtend persbericht, 22 mei 2017: Shell warns Trump, but refuses to commit to Paris Climate Agreement itself, Shell AGM on Tuesday
Volledige tekst Resolutie 21
NRC, 20 mei 2017: Druk aandeelhouders Shell groeit gestaag
Zie ook
FluxEnergie, 22 mei 2017: Van Beurden waarschuwt Trump Klimaatakkoord Parijs niet los te laten
FluxEnergie, 22 mei 2017: Oud-Shell-man Van Wechem: ‘Meer druk op Shell zetten om te vergroenen’
FluxEnergie, 19 mei 2017: Steeds meer steun voor druk op Shell om te vergroenen
FluxEnergie, 20 april 2017: Shell: ‘Duurzaamheidsresolutie is schadelijk voor bedrijf’
Foto: Shell

Auteur: Redactie

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