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Church urges low carbon future for Exxon

Tue 19 Jan 2016
By Hannah Tooley

Church Commissioners are calling on the gas and oil company Exxon to better-prepare for a low carbon future.

Following the December 2015 Paris agreement, companies around the world are changing strategy to adhere to climate change targets.

A group of investors, led by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and the Church Commissioners for England, have urged ExxonMobil to explain changes it will make to its business model in the wake of the Paris agreement on climate change.

Trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Thomas P. DiNapoli, said: "The unprecedented Paris agreement to rein in global warming may significantly affect Exxon's operations.

"As shareholders, we want to know that Exxon is doing what is needed to prepare for a future with lower carbon emissions. The future success of the company, and its investors, requires Exxon to assess how it will perform as the world changes."

The group of investors represents nearly $300 billion (around £210 billion) in assets under management and more than $1 billion in Exxon shares.

Edward Mason, the Head of Responsible Investment for the Church Commissioners of England, said that: "Climate change presents major challenges to corporate governance, sustainability and ultimately profitability at ExxonMobil.

"As responsible investors, we are committed to supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.

"We need more transparency and reporting from ExxonMobil to be able to assess how they are responding to the risks and opportunities presented by the low carbon transition."

The Paris United Nations Climate Conference resulted in a historic agreement with world leaders committing to keeping a rise in global temperatures below two degrees Celsius.

Shareholders and the Church Commissioners for England have asked ExxonMobil to publish an assessment of how its portfolio would be affected by this target and in the future.

Exxon's competitors, Shell and BP, have already agreed to disclose how they will be impacted by efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

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