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Shareholders call on Exxon Mobil to set greenhouse gas reduction targets

An Exxon Mobil gas station in Chicago.
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A number of institutional investors in Exxon Mobil have said they will file a shareholder resolution which calls on the world's largest oil company to set targets for lowering its greenhouse gas emissions.

The call, led by the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF) and the Church Commissioners of England (CCE), comes in the wake of shareholder moves at other major energy firms seeking to make them more responsive to climate change and its impact on the business.

The statement released on Sunday by the CCE asked Exxon to disclose, for the first time, short, medium and long-term targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from both its operations and the use of its products.

"We want to see ExxonMobil develop a clear strategy for long-term sustainability, in line with international commitments for a safer climate," Edward Mason, head of responsible investment for the CCE, said in the statement.

Thomas DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller and Trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, added: "The world is transitioning to a lower carbon future and Exxon needs to demonstrate its ability to adapt or risk its bottom line along with investors' confidence."

Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The pair have previously teamed up to pressure Exxon on environmental issues, including on a shareholder resolution in 2017 which asked the company to disclose the impact of measures to combat climate change on its business.

The NYSCRF and CCE are joined in the latest initiative, which will be filed for a potential vote at Exxon's shareholder meeting in the spring of 2019, by other funds including the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), and HSBC Global Asset Management, the statement added.

Earlier this month, Royal Dutch Shell set out plans to introduce three-year or five-year carbon emissions targets that were linked to executive pay in 2020, following pressure from its investors.

BP and Total have also set short-term targets on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but these are limited to their own operations.

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