AUSTIN: A boardroom activist group that opposed investments in South Africa during apartheid has turned its attention to global warming and set its sights on the newly merged ExxonMobil.
AUSTIN: A boardroom activist group that opposed investments in
South Africa during apartheid has turned its attention to global warming
and set its sights on the newly merged ExxonMobil.
Austin environmental activist Peter Altman last week announced Campaign
ExxonMobil, a grassroots effort aimed at pressuring the world’s largest
public oil company to acknowledge global warming and adjust its
The effort began more than two years ago, when the Interfaith Center for
Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) pushed stockholder resolutions on global
warming. Altman, who has led the campaign in recent months, said that
its formal unveiling marks the start of a drive to get more religious
institutions behind the cause.
The ICCR consists of about 275 religious organizations that control
pension fund investments totaling more than dollars 100 billion. The
group is known for championing corporate board resolutions that further
its social goals.
While Exxon shareholders killed an ICCR resolution last year, the
organization plans to submit another version this spring calling for
investments in renewable energy sources.
Exxon spokesman Tom Cirigliano said the company has already received a
’fair number’ of media calls about the campaign. The oil giant responded
with a written statement that acknowledged the potential impact of
carbon dioxide on the climate, but questioned the scientific basis for
predictions of catastrophic consequences.
Cirigliano added that the company may also use its standing ad on The
New York Times’ editorial page to explain its position.
Players on both sides of the conflict blame the opposition for using PR
to muddy the issue. ’I think (our) position has been distorted,’
Cirigliano said. ’We’re just saying, ’Let’s get together and discuss
It is this stubbornness, according to Sister Pat Daly of the Dominican
Sisters of New Jersey, that makes ExxonMobil a prime target for groups
like the ICCR.
’ExxonMobil is kind of neanderthal,’ she said. ’We felt like we needed
to isolate them because they are absolutely the greatest offenders.’