Shell shareholders overwhelmingly supported the company’s energy transition strategy on Tuesday, but rising backing for a second climate resolution filed by an activist group pointed to growing pressure to tackle climate change.
A non-binding resolution submitted by Shell with the support of a large group of investors to vote on its recently unveiled climate strategy won 88.74% shareholder support at its annual general meeting, which was held online.
The plan, announced in February, aims to reduce planet-warming carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 by slowly reducing oil and gas output, growing its renewables and low-carbon business and offsetting emissions through carbon capturing technologies and measures such as forestation.
Shell chief executive Ben Van Beurden said at the AGM that the strategy, which will be updated every three years, was “comprehensive… rigorous and… ambitious”.
A second resolution filed by activist group Follow This urging the Anglo-Dutch company to set “inspirational” targets to battle greenhouse gas emissions, was rejected by 69.53% of the votes, according to a tally of most votes.
Still, the nearly one-third of votes supporting the resolution, which Shell’s board urged shareholders to reject, is a sharp increase from last year’s vote where a similar resolution won 14.4% support.
Several investors, advisories and activist groups including Follow This have criticised Shell for setting intensity-based carbon reduction targets, which allow Shell in theory to grow its emissions, rather than absolute reduction targets.
Earlier on Tuesday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in a new report that new oil and gas fields should be approved for development if the world is to meet its climate goals and limit global warming.
The IEA claimed that, even if current climate pledges by global governments are achieved, the world will still fall short of bringing energy related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050.