For the first time in 2017, shareholders will get a binding vote on corporate pay policies in the UK.
Share Action is urging them to use it at BP and Shell to stop bonus structures that reward high carbon strategies.
Both oil majors give incentives for executives to expand production, the campaign group states in a report, in defiance of international climate goals that will curb demand for fossil fuels.
Catherine Howarth, chief executive at Share Action, said: “Responsible investors who are serious about climate risk have a crucial opportunity to ‘walk the talk’ at BP and Shell next year, by pushing for remuneration policies designed make these major companies commercially resilient in a low carbon world – and voting down policies which fail that test.”
It is the next step in a shareholder movement that last year saw the two oil firms agree to improve carbon risk disclosure.
The key demand was to analyse which assets would be stranded if governments succeed in the Paris Agreement target of holding global warming below 2C.
In May, Shell published its first future energy scenario compatible with 2C, while expressing doubts about the goal’s feasibility.
Share Action argues oil companies should actively encourage employees to make that low carbon future a reality.
Pablo Berrutti, head of responsible investment for Asia Pacific at First State Investments, endorsed the campaign, saying: “Climate change is an issue that affects us all. We believe that companies should be incentivised to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency. Linking this with remuneration is a logical step for emissions intensive sectors.”