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Exxon Climate-Activism Investor Wins at Least 2 Board Seats

A shareholder vote at Exxon Mobil put at least two nominees from climate-activism investor Engine No. 1 on the energy giant's board.
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A climate-activism investor, Engine No. 1, won at least two seats on the board at energy giant Exxon Mobil  (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report after a shareholder vote. 

The San Francisco hedge fund hopes to make the Irving, Texas, integrated energy giant more active in combating climate change 

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“Today, shareholders sent a strong signal to Exxon and other oil majors that business as usual is not an option,” said Andrew Behar, chief executive of the Coalition United for a Responsible Exxon, said in a statement. 

The coalition is a group of 135 institutions focused on both sustainability and long-term returns.

"The fact that at least two of Engine #1’s four board candidates were elected reflects the right of shareholders to escalate the demand for transformation at companies such as Exxon," Behar said.

The votes on the other two board seats are currently too close to call. 

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Exxon shares at last check were up 0.8% to $58.70.

Behar said that the new board should act on a mandate for change and immediately adopt transition plans that are compliant with the Paris Agreement.

In particular, the group wants Exxon to reduce its emissions to net-zero by 2050. 

Engine No. 1 controls just a 0.02% stake in Exxon Mobil, but huge pension-fund investors like Calpers, Calstrs and New York State and Local Retirement System backed its board slate. 

Ahead of this week's vote, Exxon said it would add two new directors over the next year, including a member with climate experience. 

Exxon Mobil currently has 12 elected corporate board members

The company said in late April that there was "growing public and private sector support for carbon capture as a critical enabling technology to reduce emissions and help meet society's net-zero ambitions.” 

Exxon Mobil posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings of 64 cents a share and $59.15 billion in overall revenue.