An activist investor firm is once again taking aim at ExxonMobil for not doing enough to position itself for the energy transition after the US supermajor released new targets to curb its emissions on Monday.
Engine No1, which last week said it would nominate four candidates for ExxonMobil’s 10-person board, on Monday said that the company’s announcement only reinforces the urgent need for a long-term strategy.
At the start of this week, ExxonMobil said that in an effort to support the goals of the Paris Agreement, by 2025 the company anticipates lowering the intensity of its upstream emissions by 15% to 20%, while also targeting a 40% to 50% reduction in methane intensity.
The company is also planning to align itself with the World Bank’s initiative to end routine flaring by 2030 and has set a target of reducing flaring intensity by 35% to 45% over that same period.
“ExxonMobil is committed to enhancing long-term value for all of our shareholders,” a company spokesperson said in an email. “Management and board members regularly engage with our shareholders on a range of topics and value their constructive perspectives”.
But Engine No1 does not believe the supermajor’s plan goes far enough to prepare itself for the energy transition.
“While reducing emissions intensity is important, nothing in ExxonMobil’s stated plans better positions it for long-term success in a world seeking to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions,” the firm said in a statement.
“ExxonMobil remains committed to aggressive oil and gas capital expenditure plans requiring high oil and gas prices to break-even and continues to eschew material business diversification opportunities. This strategy inherently restricts ExxonMobil’s ability to pursue aggregate emission reduction targets and prevents it from better positioning itself to create long-term shareholder value in an evolving industry.”
The firm is calling on the supermajor to improve its capital allocation discipline and diversify its portfolio beyond fossil fuels, it said in a statement. The four new board members it is proposing would help the company accomplish that goal.
The investor group itself owns some $40 million in stock, according to Reuters, and is backed by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System pension fund that owns more than $330 million, totalling some 0.2% of the company’s total market capitalisation.