Norway adds pressure as oil major climate protests heat up

By Victoria Klesty, Benjamin Mallet and America Hernandez

(Reuters) – Pressure mounted on oil majors on Friday as Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund said it would vote against CEOs at Chevron and Exxon and French police tackled climate protesters at TotalEnergies’ shareholders’ meeting.


Together with peers BP and Shell, the companies face a vocal minority of investors demanding faster emissions cuts as a majority of shareholders supports management in reaping the benefits of record profits from oil and gas.

Norway’s $1.4 trillion wealth fund, the world’s single largest stock market investor, said on Friday it would vote against CEOs at Chevron and ExxonMobil and against management on emissions-related proposals at their meetings on May 31.

The fund, which owned a 0.86% of Chevron and 1.13% of Exxon as of the end of 2022, has previously voted against the reappointments of directors and said it would, as in previous years, support the Follow This climate activist resolution asking for faster emissions cuts at the U.S. firms.

However, it will vote against Follow This at TotalEnergies’ shareholder meeting on Friday, where French riot police clashed with protesters trying to block entry to the French company’s annual general meeting (AGM).

Follow This put forward its TotalEnergies resolution together with 17 institutional investors with a total of 1.1 trillion euros under management. The last time Follow This filed a resolution at the French group in 2020, it received 17% support.

This echoes its results at BP, where a similar resolution in April received slightly more support than last year at around 17% and Shell where support this month held steady at around 20%.

Follow This asks companies to align their targets to the U.N. Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 43% from 2019 levels by 2030 to stand a chance of meeting that goal.

So far the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies’ have come up with targets that campaigners say go nowhere near far enough.

Influential shareholder advisory ISS recommended voting in favour of Follow This at TotalEnergies’ AGM, in contrast to the negative recommendations for the resolution at Shell and BP.

(Writing by Shadia Nasralla; editing by Barbara Lewis)