The activist hedge fund behind ExxonMobil’s boardroom coup last week has claimed another seat from the oil giant’s board, to take the number of new directors who will push for climate action from within the company to three. The result of last week’s shareholder vote has installed the hedge fund, named Engine No 1 after a San Francisco fire station, as a reluctant hero of the climate movement. But its founders insist that the green agenda is not the primary motive behind its David v Goliath battle to drive down the oil giant’s carbon emissions. A strong climate strategy, they say, just makes good business sense.
Guardian 4th June 2021 read more »
Does defunding fossil fuel companies make economic and environmental sense? Analysis: The fossil fuel financial divestment movement is gathering pace, removing some $14.5 trillion from the sector. But it has been criticised in some quarters as unrealistic and even counterproductive. For Mark Campanale, of the Carbon Tracker think tank, the case for divestment by investors is less about putting pressure on fossil fuel boards than persuading investors and banks where their own financial self-interest really lies. “This is fundamentally about a technology shift, where an old technology [fossil fuels] is being driven out by a new more reliable and efficient and cheaper technology and investors are just responding,” he says. “It’s not a moral case, it’s a technology argument.” “What I fear is happening is that people are conflating climate as an ESG [environmental, social, governance] issue,” he says. “This is fundamentally about investment risk – it’s about who is going to win the technology race.” Campanale says that the problem is that the investment world has not yet caught up with the sheer speed of the revolution, which has resulted in collapsing wind and solar power prices, and the fact that it’s essentially “game over” for the fossil fuel economy. Divestment campaigns, from this point of view, are a salutary wake-up call.
Independent 3rd June 2021 read more »