Image courtesy of ExxonMobil.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ruled on Tuesday that ExxonMobil must allow shareholders to vote on a resolution that asks the company to detail risks posed by climate change.

According to an SEC letter provided by the New York State Comptroller’s Office, the company must allow shareholders to vote on a resolution that would require it to disclose specific business risks posed by climate change or legislation related to climate change.

Exxon has defended its record on climate change, noting that it has provided information about potential business impacts for several years in its 10-K, Corporate Citizenship Report and in other reports to shareholders.

However, the SEC said in the letter that it “does not appear that ExxonMobil’s public disclosures compare favorably with the guidelines of the proposal.”

The proposal will be voted on during Exxon’s annual shareholder meeting in May.

The proposal was co-filed by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, as Trustee of New York State Common Retirement Fund, and the Church of England in December.

“Investors need to know if ExxonMobil is taking necessary steps to prepare for a lower carbon future, particularly now in the wake of the Paris agreement. We look forward to presenting our proposal to fellow shareholders at ExxonMobil’s annual meeting,” DiNapoli said on Wednesday.

Exxon shareholders have never approved a proposal related to climate change, Reuters said.

“We’ll be communicating the board’s recommendations on shareholder resolutions through the proxy document next month,” Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers told Reuters.


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