U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil sues activist investors to prevent climate proposals

ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods speaks on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week in San Francisco, California, on November 15, 2023.

Andrew Caballero-reynolds | Afp | Getty Images

Exxon Mobil filed a lawsuit in opposition to U.S. and Dutch activist investors in a bid to cease them from submitting climate proposals throughout the oil giant’s annual shareholder assembly.

It marks a primary for the U.S. oil main and is the most recent step in an intensifying battle between firms and environmental campaigners.

The grievance was filed Sunday within the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in opposition to Massachusetts-based funding agency Arjuna Capital and Follow This, an Amsterdam-based activist investor group.

An Exxon Mobil win within the proceedings might have a chilling impression on future shareholder petitions.

Arjuna Capital and Follow This didn’t instantly reply to a CNBC request for remark.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. monetary regulator, has overseen a rising variety of environmental and social shareholder proposals throughout the previous two proxy seasons.

In an emailed assertion, Exxon Mobil mentioned “the breakdown of the shareholder proposal course of, one that enables proponents to advance their agendas via a flood of proposals, doesn’t serve the pursuits of investors.”

The firm added, “We are merely asking the court docket to apply the SEC’s proxy guidelines as written to cease this abuse and get rid of the numerous assets required to handle them.”

The oil main has accused Arjuna Capital and Follow This of being pushed by an “excessive agenda” and claimed they each submit shareholder proposals to undermine the agency’s enterprise.

In its submitting, Exxon Mobil mentioned that it requires reduction from the court docket by March 19, as a result of it should file its proxy assertion by April 11. The Houston-based agency is scheduled to maintain its annual shareholder assembly on May 29.

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