Shareholder activism has a long history in commodities. In the early 17th century, Isaac Le Maire, grain trader and disgruntled former governor of the Dutch East India Company, attempted to break the company’s monopoly by speculatively trading its shares. His scheme failed, but Le Maire’s desire to shake up the status quo of the trade route between Europe and India eventually led to the discovery of Cape Horn. Skip forward 400 years and shareholder activism in another Dutch-origin resources giant has taken on a less selfish hue. In December, the Church of England, along with other investors in Shell, helped to persuade the energy giant to commit to setting targets to cut its carbon footprint by 20% by 2035 and half by 2050. The company’s achievements in reducing carbon emissions is to be linked to executive pay, subject to a shareholder vote in 2020. The commitment by Shell came in the wake of a startling special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in October. The report, commissioned following the 2015 Paris agreement, charts the consequences of a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels. The Paris agreement commits signatories to taking action to limit… continue reading
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Source: CTRM Center