The maker of Snickers, M&Ms, and Skittles has built a global conglomerate on sugar. The privately held Mars Incorporated let it be known earlier this year that it hopes to double its $35 billion annual revenue over the next decade, reportedly through expansion in pet food and other areas. But for now, confectionery treats are a main business, which could be why the company spent more than $2 million, in 2018 and early 2019, lobbying Congress around the federal government’s nutrition advice, among other food policy issues. Of course, it’s also possible Mars has a more socially responsible motive, which I’ll get to in a minute. Read more >
June 6, 2019 8:40 AM EDT
June 4, 2019 2:56 PM EDT
Before entering ExxonMobil’s annual meeting in Dallas last week, shareholders had to pass local activists holding a 100-foot-long banner with the message “Climate Crisis: #ExxonKnew—Make Them Pay.” I attended the meeting for the fourth year in a row and was not surprised that, once inside, shareholders wanted a voice in the company’s handling of climate change issues. ExxonMobil blocked them from voting on shareholder proposals specifically about climate change, so they used every opportunity to express their discontent with the company’s climate action. Despite the spin that shareholders “rejected” the climate-related proposals, the results are actually a vote of no-confidence in how ExxonMobil’s leadership is addressing climate change.
April 2, 2019 2:42 PM EDT
Today, Royal Dutch Shell published its Industry Associations Climate Review, delivering on a promise made late last year to leading institutional investors who are concerned about climate change. Shell’s review follows a similar report published by BHP in late 2017, and raises the transparency bar for fossil fuel industry competitors and their trade groups. Read more >
January 2, 2019 11:34 AM EDT
Utilities are expected to make investments that are prudent and in the public interest; in return, they get to recover those costs plus a profit. All the utility investments, operating costs, and profits get pooled together and are reflected in customer utility bills. Expenditures that aren’t “prudent” and “in the public interest” (two key terms in the industry) don’t get to be recovered. But many utilities have found a way to get around guidelines and force customers to finance fossil fuel infrastructure, lobbying, and power plants that aren’t even built yet. Read more >
May 21, 2018 2:20 PM EDT
Major fossil fuel producers are holding their annual general meetings (AGMs) this month amid mounting pressure from investors, increasing risks of legal liability for climate damages, and heightened scrutiny of their lobbying and public policy advocacy. BP and Royal Dutch Shell host their AGMs this week; ExxonMobil and Chevron will follow next week.
If shareholder meetings were classic game shows, and investors were keeping score, fossil fuel companies would be coming up short. Read more >