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Exxon’s defeat in a boardroom battle is a turning point for social activism.

Exxon’s defeat in a boardroom battle is a turning point for social activism.

June 10, 2021, 4:59 a.m. ET

An activist investor successfully waged a battle to install three directors on the board of Exxon Mobil last week with the goal of pushing the energy giant to reduce its carbon footprint. The investor, a hedge fund called Engine No. 1, was virtually unknown before the fight.

The tiny firm wouldn’t have had a chance were it not for an unusual twist: the support of some of Exxon’s biggest institutional investors. BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street voted against Exxon’s leadership and gave Engine No. 1 powerful support. These huge investment companies rarely side with activists on such issues. read more

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