The Sampension community puts pressure on Equinor regarding new fossil activities

1 May 2024

Pensionskassen for Jordbrugsakademikere og Dyrlæger publishes on its website:

Together with a number of other investors, the Sampension community will propose at Equinor’s upcoming general meeting that the Norwegian company explain how the company’s plans to expand its fossil activities are in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Sampension community is now putting pressure on Equinor when it comes to the company’s plans to expand its fossil activities. This is done with a proposal that the Sampension community will put forward at the Norwegian company’s general meeting in May together with the English pension company West Yorkshire Pension Fund and the asset managers Sarasin & Partners LLP and Achmea Investment Management.

The background is that Equinor plans to develop new oil and gas reserves – so-called “fossil expansion” – even though the demand for oil and gas is expected to fall significantly in the coming decades, and even though the International Energy Agency (IEA) points out that the world is currently time has access to the fossil fuels which are necessary for the future energy and raw material supply.

If the goal in the Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees is to be met, according to the IEA, there is only room for the development of new oil and gas reserves if, for example, offset by closures elsewhere. But Equinor has not announced plans to close any of the company’s existing operations to make room for the development of new reserves. And this is despite the fact that Equinor officially supports the objectives of the Paris Agreement and, among other things, aims to be CO2-neutral by 2050.

Therefore, with the proposal at the general meeting, the four investors will order Equinor to explain how the company’s plans to expand its fossil activities harmonize with the Paris Agreement and the company’s own climate goals.

“There is still a societal need for fossil fuels, and they will be part of our everyday life for a number of years to come. But it is also clear that there is a need for all companies to pull in the same direction. Therefore, it is problematic when companies like Equinor plan to expand their fossil activities, and of course we would like a good explanation for that,” says Jacob Ehlerth Jørgensen, Head of ESG in the Sampension community.

“It is of course positive that Equinor officially supports the goals of the Paris Agreement, and that the company, in its own words, wants to take the lead in the absolutely necessary restructuring of the global energy system. But it is immediately difficult to see how the plans to develop new fossil reserves are compatible with these ambitions,” says Jacob Ehlerth Jørgensen.

“Having said that, we also have to state that Equinor is one of the fossil fuel companies that does it best, i.a. compared to extracting fossil fuels with a very low operational climate footprint. And we believe that through active ownership and together with other investors we can influence the company to take further steps in a more responsible direction, e.g. when it comes to fossil expansion – although our patience with the company is of course not endless,” says Jacob Ehlerth Jørgensen.

In addition to the explanation of the company’s plans for fossil fuel expansion, the investors with the proposal will also want Equinor to update its current strategy, which i.a. implies that the company maintains a stable production of fossil fuels until 2035, which is also contrary to the Paris Agreement.

Source: Pensionskassen for Jordbrugsakademikere og Dyrlæger
Multiple reports with cicle diagram and text

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