In May, an activist investment firm won three seats on Exxon Mobil’s board, marking one of the most expensive, and most closely watched, proxy fights in America. It was a big victory for a small activist investor owning only a fraction of Exxon’s total shares.
It also marked a victory for ESG investors. The activist firm, a hedge fund called Engine No. 1, relied on ESG-friendly institutional investors and ESG fund managers to secure enough votes to elect the new board members, who will encourage Exxon to pivot its business away from fossil fuels.