Oil companies aren’t usually known for their environmental awareness, but Chevron became the largest company–and the only major U.S. oil company–to track its carbon emissions yesterday. The declaration came partially as a result of pressure from a group of eco-conscious nuns who also happen to be investors in the company.
The Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, New Jersey, represented a group of 16 investors involved in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility earlier this year in proposing a greenhouse gas emissions shareholder resolution to Chevron. The resolution has been dropped since Chevron agreed to track and report the carbon contents of its products. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, which represents over $100 billion in invested capital, is behind a number of Chevron’s environmental initiatives, including its greenhouse gas reduction targets and consideration of climate risk in capital allocation.
Chevron may be the only oil company to report carbon emissions, but other energy giants have faced increased pressure from shareholders to green their business practices. ConocoPhilips shareholders voted to make the company accountable for environmental damage caused by its Canadian tar sands initiative, and shareholders at Massey Energy recently voted in favor of a climate change initiative. As a result of Chevron’s pledge to disclose carbon emissions, ExxonMobil also faces pressure to address its shareholder requests for emissions reductions.