The Church of England Pensions Board will join activist investor group Follow This in calling for more ambitious climate targets from Shell

London (AFP) - The Church of England Tuesday said it will vote against a “green” transition plan proposed by energy giant Shell, joining other minority shareholders in calling for more ambitious carbon-cutting targets.

The CoE Pensions Board made its position known ahead of Shell’s annual general meeting (AGM) due May 23, noting its dissatisfaction also with BP, another British oil and gas major.

“We do this with genuine regret at the short-term path the (Shell) company appears to be choosing,” Adam Matthews, chief responsible investment officer at the Church of England Pensions Board, wrote in The Telegraph newspaper.

“The recent announcements by BP that it is weakening its climate targets, and the none too subtle hints from Shell… that it is likely to do something similar, signals that the lure of short-term profit maximisation is trumping the long-term sustainability of these companies and of our planet,” he added.

Energy giants are seen curtailing their plans as fossil fuels remain in strong demand.

In addition to voting against Shell’s plan, the CoE will back a resolution put forward by activist investor group Follow This that calls for more ambitious targets by the company on cutting carbon emissions.

“Through our vote at Shell’s AGM we are sending a signal about the importance we assign to the low-carbon transition,” said Matthews.

In response, Shell defended its action on transitioning to a greener company and hit out over CoE’s stance.

“Shell and the Church of England Pensions Board have worked together as partners on the energy transition for almost a decade,” it said in a statement.

“We… strongly disagree with the Pensions Board’s changed position.”

Shell added that its strategy “to become a net zero energy company by 2050 or sooner” remained unchanged.