Press release – Equinor cuts dividend and rejects shareholder support on climate targets

PRESS RELEASE

  • Board advises shareholders to vote against Follow This climate resolution
  • Resolution requests targets for the reduction of product emissions (Scope 3)
  • Resolution one of five climate resolutions at major oil companies with identical requests (Equinor, Shell, Total, Santos, and Woodside Petroleum)
  • Equinor first oil major to cut first-quarter dividend (by 67%)

Equinor’s directors advise shareholders to vote against the Follow This climate resolution that supports the company to align with the Paris Climate Agreement, the board said today in the Notice of AGM.

“With today’s negative voting advice, Equinor tells shareholders that it is unwilling to take responsibility at a time of devastating climate change,” says Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This, the group of green shareholders that files climate resolutions at oil majors since 2016.

“The current oil crisis, shouldn’t delay Equinor’s response to the climate crisis,” he adds.

“We expect that responsible investors will vote for our climate resolution that encourages Equinor to set targets that are truly aligned with Paris.” In 2019, KLP Kapitalforvaltning and many other investors including 12% of the non-governmental shareholders voted for the same resolution, and another 7.5% abstained from voting.

Oil and gas companies can make or break the Paris Climate Agreement

“The world needs Big Oil to lead the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. While Equinor claims to support Paris, management refuses to adopt the concrete emissions targets needed to reach the Paris goal of well below 2°C.”

Why Equinor’s Climate Roadmap is not in line with the Paris Climate Agreement

Equinor’s ambition to halve the carbon intensity in a growing energy system will not lead to a level of absolute emissions reduction necessary to actually achieve the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement, and is therefore not on a well-below-2°C pathway.

In short: Equinor aims for -30%, IPCC calls for a cut of -70% (2°C) to -100% (1.5°C).

Why Equinor’s investments are not in line with the Paris Climate Agreement

Equinor invests in a growth of oil and gas, and invests a mere 5-10% in renewable energy (detailed information below).

Investor support for climate targets resolution is necessary

“A vote for the Follow This climate resolution will send a strong signal to Equinor and other oil majors that institutional investors mean business about stopping climate change. Management requires unambiguous support from shareholders to align its targets with the Paris Agreement and to invest accordingly.”

“A vote against the climate targets resolutions will in effect legitimize the inadequate targets of Equinor, and deny management the support to radically shift capital investment from fossil fuels to renewables. Equinor’s current capital spending on oil and gas is incompatible with the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Oil and gas companies can make or break the Paris Climate Agreement

“The world needs Big Oil to lead the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. While Equinor claims its ambition is to support Paris, management refuses to adopt the concrete emissions targets needed to reach the Paris goal of well-below 2°C.”

No Scope 3 – No rationale

In its directors’ response Equinor rejects six resolutions (9-14) in one page (page 9), without specific rationale. In 2019, Equinor rejected the Follow This resolution by stating “Our activities do not include direct engagement with end users of products,” (Scope 3) in its board response.

“It is telling that this year Equinor published no specific rationale to reject the Follow This resolution. Apparently, the board doesn’t want put its rejection of Scope 3 responsibility in writing again,” says Van Baal.

Follow This Climate Targets Resolution

The attached document includes the full text of the updated Follow This shareholder resolution and supporting statement. Our resolution supports Equinor to bring its emissions targets (Scopes 1, 2, and 3) in line with the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C.

List of all shareholder resolutions at Equinor’s AGM:

9: Proposal from shareholder to set short-, medium-, and long-term net carbon intensity targets (including Scope 1, 2 and 3)
10: Proposal from shareholder to stop all exploration activity and test drilling for fossil energy resources
11: Proposal from shareholder to consider the health effects of global warming due to fossil energy in the company’s further strategy
12: Proposal from shareholders to refrain from oil and gas exploration and production activities in certain areas
13: Proposal from shareholder to stop all oil and gas activities outside the Norwegian continental shelf
14: Proposal from shareholder regarding new direction for the company including phasing out of all exploration activities within two years.

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