From the end of April to the beginning of June 2022, the major economic and financial players will be reporting to their shareholders and presenting their strategy at their Annual General Meetings (AGMs). This AGM season is the first since the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the IPCC released their flagship reports demonstrating that new fossil fuel projects are not compatible with efforts to limit global warming below 1.5°C.

The AGMs provide an opportunity for banks, insurers and investors to finally prove the reality and effectiveness of “shareholder engagement” by taking strong stances and votes against fossil expansion, and by using their shareholder power to push companies to effectively transition away from fossil fuels. Some investors are increasingly vocal on climate issues: Filing climate resolutions, calling for shareholder consultation through “Say On Climate” votes, rebelling against boards of directors for climate inaction. However, too many institutional investors are still supporting fossil fuel companies despite their misaligned and toxic oil and gas plans. Will shareholders step up this year?

Press release (in French)

The key AGMs on climate

From the end of April to the beginning of June 2022, the major economic and financial players will be reporting to their shareholders and presenting their strategy. This AGM season is the first since the release of flagship reports from the IEA and the IPCC, which demonstrates that new fossil fuel projects are not compatible with efforts to limit global warming below 1.5°C.

The AGMs provide an opportunity for banks, insurers and investors to finally prove the reality and effectiveness of “shareholder engagement” by taking strong stances and votes against fossil expansion, and by using their power as shareholders to push companies to effectively transition away from fossil fuels. Some investors are increasingly vocal on climate issues: filing climate resolutions, calling for shareholder consultation through “Say On Climate”, rebelling against boards of directors for climate inaction. However, too many institutional investors are still supporting fossil fuel companies despite their misaligned and toxic oil and gas plans. Will shareholders step up this year?

Reclaim Finance will attend AGMs of the main players in the Paris financial center and raise questions and concerns about their climate strategies. All are members of coalitions committed to achieving carbon neutrality and limiting global warming below 1.5°C. Most of them have announced their decarbonization targets, and yet, almost all of them still unconditionally support companies developing new fossil fuel projects, contrary to scientific recommendations.

This year, financial players must finally and publicly recognize the need to put an end to oil and gas expansion and operationalize this commitment by COP27. As shareholders, they must also take immediate action during the AGMs of oil and gas majors, energy utilities, and other high-carbon sectors, by:

→ Blocking fake climate plans by voting against incomplete and insufficient “Say on Climate”;

→ Supporting shareholder resolutions aimed at strengthening corporate climate plans;

→ Opposing the re-appointment of Directors at companies that persist in developing new fossil projects.

April 21st: Engie’s AGM

Climate concerns will be a focus of Engie’s general meeting and an important litmus test for “shareholder engagement”. Indeed, if Engie plans to “exit” coal, its strategy is insufficient and problematic. The energy company is selling most of its coal assets instead of closing them. In addition, Engie is planning to increasing reliance on gas, furthering dependency on fossil fuels instead of effectively transitioning. As a result, the company is not aligned on a 1.5°C trajectory. Climate-conscious investors should take advantage of Engie’s general meeting to vote against the flawed “Say on Climate” proposed by the company, and question the company about its concerning “transition” decisions.

Our spokesperson: Guillaume Pottier, in charge of stewardship, +33750890549

Read our decryption of Engie’s AGM

April 28th: AXA’s AGM

While AXA was a pioneer in phasing out coal, the company is still insuring the future of oil and gas. In October 2021, the insurer announced a new policy to restrict its insurance coverage and investments on oil and gas. Unfortunately, its policy only goes half the distance: AXA can continue to insure new oil projects until 2024 and even beyond in some cases, and has not announced the end of insurance coverage for new gas projects

As an investor, AXA is a shareholder of oil and gas companies including TotalEnergies and Shell. In 2021, AXA approved their climate plans to welcome the move while indicating that it would be “crucial that Total and the rest of the oil and gas industry continue to raise their [climate] ambition. Since it is now clear that the level of ambition of these plans is not sufficient, AXA IM must step up and oppose them.

Our spokesperson: Lucie Pinson, Reclaim Finance director, +336.79.54.37.15

Read our decryption of AXA’s AGM

May 17th: BNP Paribas’ AGM

Between 2016 and 2021, French bank Bnp paribas granted more than 142 billion dollars to fossil fuels companies and earned the title of 5th biggest financier of fossil fuel expansion. In 2021, BNP Paribas joined the Glasgow finance alliance for net zero, thus committing to limiting global warming to 1.5°C and reducing emissions by 50% by 2030. However, the group’s current policies are not in line with this commitment since the bank can still support companies developing new oil and gas projects, including in controversial sectors such as arctic drilling, offshore and liquefied natural gas.

As an investor, BNP Paribas is also still supporting oil and gas expansion by investing in companies such as TotalEnergies and Shell. BNP Paribas AM had also supported the so-called climate plans of the two European oil and gas majors in 2021. This year, it will have to provide tangible proof of the effectiveness of its commitment approach, by opposing the faulty “Say on Climate” of European oil and gas companies and supporting all of the shareholder climate resolutions filed with these companies.

Our spokesperson: Louis-Maxence Delaporte, in charge of fossil free finance, +336.48.64.39.75

Read our decryption of BNP Paribas’ AGM

May 18th: Amundi’s AGM

In January, we revealed that Amundi still had $4.8 billion invested in coal, namely because of its passive funds that are not regulated by its coal exclusion policy. In addition, Amundi is invested to the tune of $19 billion in 12 of the main oil and gas developers, undermining its ability to align with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Amundi is in fact the largest shareholder of TotalEnergies, currently involved in the development of mega-projects in the Russian Arctic and in East Africa.

Until now, Amundi has presented itself as a strongly engaged shareholder. However, its voting record last year showed inconsistencies. Amundi, for example, voted in favor of TotalEnergies’s climate plan at the 2021 AGM, despite the fact that it was clearly flawed and misaligned.

Will Amundi’s track record improve in 2022? Will Amundi vote against TotalEnergies’ climate plan this year? 

Our spokesperson: Lara Cuvelier, in charge of sustainable investments, +336.68.45.18.93

Read our decryption of Amundi’s AGM

May 18th: SCOR’s AGM

The 4th largest re/insurer in the world has not yet adopted restrictions on the oil and gas sector despite its climate commitments. Indeed, SCOR is one of the founding members of the Alliance of Insurers committed to limiting global warming to 1.5°C. While SCOR recently committed not to insure the EACOP project carried out by TotalEnergies in East Africa, it must now extend this commitment to any new fossil fuel production project.

In the past, SCOR has been know to lead by example. It is notably the first international reinsurer to adopt commitments in the coal sector. The AGM will confirm whether Laurent Rousseau, SCOR’s recently appointed CEO, is really ready to “accelerate the race towards net zero emissions, and thus strengthen SCOR’s long-term mission of protecting people and societies around the world. entire” as he promised.

Our spokesperson: Ariel Le Bourdonnec, insurance campaign, +336.99.39.92.85

Read our letter to SCOR’s CEO

May 17th: Société Générale’s AGM

Between 2016 and 2021, Societe Generale granted more than $87 billion to fossil fuels. Like other French banks, Societe Generale made a commitment in 2021 to limit global warming to 1.5°C and to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030.

Unfortunately, Société Générale’s new policy still allows the bank to support companies developing new oil and gas projects like ExxonMobil and Chevron, the 2nd and 3rd largest shale developers. Societe Generale is also very involved in two mega-terminals for the export of shale gas in North America (Rio Grande LNG and Driftwood LNG).

If the bank wants to give credibility to its climate commitments, it must commit to excluding any support for any new oil and gas project and the companies developing them.

Our spokesperson: Louis-Maxence Delaporte, fossil free finance campaigner, +336.48.64.39.75

Read our decryption of Société Générale’s AGM

May 24th: Crédit Agricole’s AGM

Between 2016 and 2021, the French bank granted $75 billion to fossil fuels. Crédit Agricole also ranks among the world’s top 10 banks providing the most financing for oil and gas companies active in the Arctic and offshore. Crédit Agricole is TotalEnergies’ leading banker, and is listed among the significant financiers of Gazprom, Saudi Aramco and Petrobras, major developers of new oil and gas projects.

Unfortunately, the group’s new policy to reduce its support for fossil fuels misses the mark given it does not tackle oil and gas expansion.

If the group is committed to becoming the “green bank” and “responsible” investor it deems itself to be, Credit Agricole must commit to cease new financial services to all companies still developing new oil and gas fields.

Our spokesperson: Louis-Maxence Delaporte, fossil free finance campaigner, +336.48.64.39.75

Read our decryption of Crédit Agricole’s AGM

May 25th: TotalEnergies’ AGM

This year, the company’s management is proposing another advisory vote on its “climate” plan. Since TotalEnergies is one of the largest oil and gas developers in the world and does not plan to significantly reduce its emissions, the major does not have a credible transition plan and will blow up its entire carbon budget by 2035 at the latest.

It is also worth noting that two ambitious shareholder resolutions were initially filed by shareholders asking TotalEnergies to do more on climate. Unfortunately, none of them will be put to a vote: The first one has been withrawn because TotalEnergies, under pressure, made some (partial) new commitments, the second one has been unilaterally rejected by the French company.

This time, investors must not be fooled into supporting the plan. They must oppose this “Say on climate” which is more akin to green washing than planning for a credible transition.

Our spokesperson: Lucie Pinson, Reclaim Finance director, +336.79.54.37.15

Read our decryption of TotalEnergies’ AGM

April 28th: RWE’s AGM

Until 2021, RWE was the largest emitter of CO2 in Europe and remains the 2nd largest emitter. RWE is one of the European energy companies using the most coal to produce electricity, and operates coal mines in Germany and Hungary.

RWE plans to phase out coal only in 2038 within the EU/OECD, and intends to develop its gas activities in the meantime, undermining the energy transition towards renewable energies.

Climate-conscious investors should take advantage of RWE’s AGM to sanction its faulty transition plan, by opposing the proposal to appoint a new director on the one hand, as well as by opposing the discharge given to the members of the board of directors (as recommended by the German association of critical shareholders).

Our spokesperson: Claire Maraval, European Energy Transition campaigner, Reclaim Finance, + 33 6 85 45 80 27

Read our decryption of RWE’s AGM

May 18th, UNIPER’s AGM

Fortum/Uniper is one of the main producers of fossil fuel-powered electricity in Europe and is struggling to come up with a coal phase-out plan in line with what climate science requires. The energy company plans to phase out (some of its) coal by 2038 within the EU/OECD: the policy does not cover all of its power plants, and the company is increasingly relying on gas. Despite the war on Ukraine, Fortum/Uniper is still operating 12 gas or combined cycle power plants in Russia and relies heavily on Russian gas (even more so since the start of the war).

Despite its lack of a credible transition plan, Fortum/Uniper is still supported by major French financial players such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale or Crédit Agricole. These investors must take advantage of Uniper’s AGM to sanction the company and signal their disapproval with the coal transition plan by opposing the appointment of the members of its supervisory board.

Our spokesperson: Claire Maraval, European Energy transition campaigner, Reclaim Finance, + 33 6 85 45 80 27

Read our analysis on Uniper (in French)

May 11th: ENI’s AGM

This year, Eni, the main Italian oil and gas producer, is consulting its shareholders on its energy transition plan through a “say on climate”. This is an important opportunity to stress-test the shareholder engagement of investors.

Indeed, despite new pledges, ENI’s climate plan is still not aligned with the 1.5°C target: the company is planning new oil and gas projects and will blow up its 1.5°C carbon budget by 2038 or sooner!

Investors who claim to be seriously committed to the climate must sanction ENI’s expansionist strategy by opposing the renewal of the members of its board of directors.

Our spokesperson: Guillaume Pottier, stewardship campaigner, +33750890549

Read our decryptino of Eni’s AGM

May 11th: Equinor’s AGM

While Equinor is often perceived as part of the best in class companies in the oil and gas sector, an in-depth study of Equinor’s climate plan reveals that it is far from aligned with the 1.5°C pathway: the Norwegian major is planning new oil and gas projects and will blow its carbon budget by 2037 or sooner.

At this year’s AGM, the Norwegian major plans to consult its investors on this climate plan via an advisory vote. It is critical that investors vote against this “Say on Climate” given that it is not in line with what climate science requires.

It’s also important for investors to vote for the shareholder-driven climate resolution.

Our spokesperson: Guillaume Pottier, stewardship campaigner +33750890549

Read our decryption of Equinor’s AGM

May 12th: BP’s AGM

This year, for the first time, oil and gas major BP is consulting its shareholders on its energy transition plan through a “say on climate”.

This is an opportunity to test the shareholder engagement of investors. Indeed, BP’s climate plan is far from aligned with a 1.5°C pathway: the company is planning new oil and gas projects and will blow up its carbon budget by 2033 at the latest!

Investors who say they are committed to the climate must show some muscle at BP’s AGM by voting against the flawed “say on climate” and by challenging the company on its dangerous strategy. BP is also the target of a climate resolution filed by shareholders. Investors must support this resolution.

Finally, investors must sanction BP’s fossil expansion strategy by voting against directors up for renewal. 

Our spokesperson: Guillaume Pottier, stewardship campaigner, +33750890549

Read our decryption of BP’s AGM

May 24th: Shell’s AGM

For the second year in a row, Shell is consulting its shareholders on its energy transition plan. This is an opportunity to test the shareholder engagement of investors.

Indeed, Shell’s climate plan is far from aligned with the 1.5°C pathway: the company is planning new oil and gas projects and will blow up its carbon budget by 2034 or sooner! Investors who are serious about their climate commitments hould take advantage of Shell’s AGM to vote against the faulty “Say on Climate” proposed by the major, but also to support the shareholder initiative climate resolution that was filed.

Finally, investors must sanction the company’s expansionist strategy by voting against the directors up for renewal.

Our spokesperson: Guillaume Pottier, stewardship campaigner, +33750890549

Read our decryption of Shell’s AGM