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OSLO, May 14 (Reuters) - Equinor’s shareholders, dominated by the Norwegian government, rejected all climate resolutions at the oil firm’s annual general meeting on Thursday, the company said.
One of the resolutions, proposed by Follow This, a group which represents about 5,400 green-minded shareholders in oil and gas companies, called for adjusting Equinor’s climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement on global carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions.
Proposals from other small investors included stopping oil exploration in vulnerable areas such as the Arctic Barents Sea, and spinning off the renewables business into a separate company.
Follow This founder Mark van Baal said the group’s proposal received backing of around 27% of total non-government votes, up from 12% in 2019, showing growing shareholder pressure on the company to shift away from fossil fuels to renewables.
“We fail to understand that a government that signed the Paris Agreement voted against the climate resolution that requests Equinor to commit to the agreement,” he told Reuters.
The world’s largest proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended a vote in favour of the Follow This resolution, citing the need for Equinor to set more detailed targets.
The company’s board had proposed rejecting the resolutions, saying Equinor’s strategy already supported “a balanced transition to low carbon society”.
In addition to the direct government stake of 67%, the Norwegian state pension fund Folketrygdfondet has a 2.97% holding. Among the top five shareholders are Fidelity Management, Dodge&Cox and BlackRock, each with more than 1%.
In February, Equinor announced plans to reduce its net carbon intensity by at least 50% by 2050, for the first time including so-called Scope 3 emissions, or emissions from the use of its products, the bulk of Equinor’s emissions.
Follow This welcomed Equinor’s decision to include Scope 3 emissions, but said its targets fell short of keeping global warming at well below 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial times. (Reporting by Victoria Klesty and Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Mark Potter/Mark Heinrich)