Shareholders push Imperial Oil for carbon targets

Imperial Oil Ltd. is asking investors to take a pass on a shareholder resolution that recommends the company adopt a target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The motion, to be tabled at the coming May 2021 AGM, is being made on behalf of Quebec retirement fund group, Batirente. The argument is that while Imperial Oil’s current emissions reduction target is a step in the right direction, a long-term strategy is essential. Canadian Press reports Imperial Oil has recommended voting down the proposal because they have yet to create a concrete plan for long-term carbon emissions. As such, Imperial suggests the vote would be premature.

Addressing the need to align strategies with the Paris Agreement and reduce emissions by 2050, Batirente CEO Daniel Simardhas said, "Our climate commitment as unveiled in autumn 2020, aims to both alleviate the cause of climate warming, through the reduction of GHG emissions and mitigate its consequences, by building resilience. It is important for Batirente to meet its fiduciary responsibility by taking measures to optimally allocate the capital entrusted to us.”

Imperial Oil counters, saying it is intent on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 10% by 2023 relative to 2016 levels. And, Imperial says it has technologies at various stages of commercialization that could be employed to further reduce carbon emissions.