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ExxonMobil has defined 14 Sustainability Focus Areas that were developed by analyzing our environmental and social impacts, business strategies, and internal and external stakeholders’ priorities. We believe these focus areas have the most potential impact to both ExxonMobil as a company and society. And we develop strategies, allocate resources, and execute plans to address risks and opportunities within each of them.

Our Sustainability Focus Areas


Topic selection process

We conduct regular assessments to identify sustainability-related topics of interest to stakeholders and to enhance our understanding of current events and evolving business priorities. The findings help inform the development of our Sustainability Report.

Ipieca, the “global oil and gas association for advancing environmental and social performance across the energy transition,”1 defines important topics as those that, in the view of company management and external stakeholders, have the potential to significantly affect sustainability performance and stakeholder awareness, assessments, or decisions. In 2021, we engaged a third-party consultant to conduct a robust topic selection process in line with the Sustainability Reporting Guidance for the Oil and Gas Industry (4th edition, 2020, revised February 2023) developed by Ipieca, the American Petroleum Institute and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers.

Sustainability reporting guidance for the oil and gas industry


We further identified topics based on peer benchmarking, a review of leading sustainability frameworks – including those published by the Global Reporting Initiative, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and Ipieca – and other external research. We also engaged internal and external stakeholders to gather data on our community impacts and potential impacts on stakeholders. We analyzed peer and industry reporting, regulations, and media in order to provide data-driven insights into strategic, regulatory, and reputational risks and opportunities for ExxonMobil.

We carefully reviewed these inputs in order to select our topics. Our Global Operations and Sustainability leadership reviewed and validated the results of this topic selection process and supported alignment with our Sustainability Focus Areas.

Stakeholder engagement

We work to foster mutual understanding, trust, and cooperation with stakeholder groups on sustainability topics. We interact with these groups through community meetings, digital and social media, corporate publications, and one-on-one discussions. Open dialogue enables us to hear concerns, discuss approaches, and share our plans for the purposes of gathering feedback.

Some of our primary stakeholder groups include:

  • Academia
  • Communities
  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Governments
  • Nongovernmental organizations
  • Shareholders
  • Suppliers
  • Trade associations and industry groups

We tailor our engagement approaches to best understand stakeholders’ views. We engage on topics such as technical projects, potential sustainability impacts, community concerns, and public policy development. We host sessions to share information on project updates, market-based approaches to sustainability matters, policy insights, and updates on the company’s safety, environmental, and human rights practices. We also meet one-on-one with many stakeholders as part of ongoing business relationships.

Engaging with shareholders

Ongoing engagement with our shareholders is vitally important as we seek to understand their diverse perspectives and keep them informed about our business. We engage with shareholders or their proxies on a range of issues throughout the year, including with institutional investors, retail shareholders, and pension funds. We also interact with a variety of outside groups, including nongovernmental organizations, financial analysts, industry thought leaders, financial rating firms, ESG rating firms, proxy advisors, and activists. We do this through individual or group meetings, Investor Day presentations, quarterly earnings calls, our Annual Shareholder Meeting, investor conferences, spotlight events, stakeholder outreach, and individualized, personal communications. Where possible, we reach out to institutional investors, asset management teams and their stewardship teams to make sure we correctly understand how they view our business in the context of their fiduciary duties to their clients.

Our engagements include a range of ExxonMobil participants, including our non-employee directors, our chairman and CEO, our CFO, our management committee, other senior leadership, and our leading subject matter experts from across the company.

Additionally, the Nominating and Governance Committee has established procedures for shareholders and other interested parties to communicate with Board members. Individuals can email our non-employee directors through the Corporate Governance page of our website. All communications are recorded by an ExxonMobil assistant secretary or designated staff member and forwarded to the appropriate director or directors, or otherwise handled as the Nominating and Governance Committee has directed.

Since 2017, we have increased our engagements on ESG issues with institutional investors, pension funds and labor, religious, and nongovernmental organizations by 88%. In 2022, our engagement reached shareholders representing 42% of total shares outstanding, or 69% of institutional shareholdings. These shareholder engagements can often address areas of interest without the need for formal shareholder proposals at the annual shareholders meeting.

Every year, shareholders or their proxies may submit proposals regarding operations or governance. Company management and the Board consider each proposal, and management seeks a dialogue with the proposal sponsor. When speaking with shareholders, we actively listen and, where possible, find common ground, potential for improvement, and a better understanding of the issues raised. More information can be found in ExxonMobil’s 2023 Proxy Statement.

At the 2023 annual meeting, shareholders owning approximately 3.4 billion outstanding shares, or more than 83%, were represented. In 2023, shareholders voted on 16 issues, including 12 shareholder proposals. More information on the voting outcomes can be found in the 2023 proxy voting results.

Corporate governance
2023 Proxy Statement
2023 Proxy Results

Engaging with Governments

Policy decisions made at all levels of government can have significant effects on our current and future operations, and we actively participate in discussions around the world to support policies that promote economic growth, stable investment for long-term business viability, and the development and acceleration of lower-emission alternatives.

We focus on practical policy solutions that recognize the increasing global need for affordable and reliable energy while enabling scalable development and deployment of lower- and zero- greenhouse gas emission technologies.

Durable and predictable market-driven policies can further encourage these developments and increase investments in lower-emission technologies to help achieve the Paris Agreement goals at the lowest cost to society.

ExxonMobil’s positions on climate, including its Scope 1 and 2 net-zero 2050 ambition from operated assets, and other key issues are available on our website and in our Advancing Climate Solutions Report, along with our annual proxy statement, press releases, and the Exxchange, our online advocacy hub. Our lobbying and political contributions are aligned with these positions.

Positions and principles
Climate Lobbying Report
Advancing Climate Solutions Report
Proxy Statement
Press releases

U.S. lobbying expenses

We undertake lobbying to advocate positions on issues that affect the company, the energy industry, and competitive free markets. These efforts are supported by a rigorous process to determine which public policy issues are of greatest importance to our business.

Our Report on Lobbying lists all U.S. organizations of which we or our affiliates are members, as well as membership fees and portions used for lobbying. The report also includes an accounting of the company’s direct and grassroots lobbying.

We fully comply with federal and state regulations by reporting federal lobbying to the U.S. Congress and state-level lobbying to appropriate entities, as required. We also publicly report, on a quarterly basis, our federal lobbying expenses and the specific issues lobbied. The total figure reported in our public Lobbying Disclosure Act filings includes expenses associated with the costs of employee federal lobbying, as well as those portions of payments to trade associations, coalitions, and think tanks spent on federal lobbying.

This process, along with the oversight of our lobbying and political engagement, can be found on our website.

ExxonMobil report on lobbying activities
2022 Lobbying Report

Political contributions

The Board of Directors has authorized ExxonMobil to make political contributions to candidate committees and other political organizations as permitted by applicable laws. The Board annually reviews our political contributions, as well as contributions from the company-sponsored Political Action Committee (PAC). Internal audits of the corporation’s public and government affairs activities routinely verify contribution amounts.

As a U.S. federal contractor, ExxonMobil has not used corporate treasury funds to support any federal candidates, national political parties, or other political committees, including Super Political Action Committees. ExxonMobil has chosen not to use treasury funds or PAC funds for direct independent political expenditures at the federal level, including electioneering2 communications.

Eligible employees and shareholders may participate in the U.S. political process by contributing to a voluntary, company-sponsored, federal PAC. ExxonMobil reports PAC contributions to the U.S. Federal Election Commission every month.

Political contributions

Transparency in payments to governments

We believe that disclosing relevant payments to governments is an important tool to reduce corruption, improve government accountability and promote greater economic stability worldwide. We consider the most successful transparency initiatives to be those that:

  • Apply to all foreign, domestic, and state-owned companies.
  • Protect proprietary information to promote commercial competitiveness.
  • Comply with international trade conventions and treaties.
  • Do not violate host government laws or contractual obligations.


  2. “Electioneering communication” is the standard terminology used by the Federal Election Committee and also used in our Report on Lobbying. It includes any communication that refers to a clearly identified federal candidate, is publicly distributed within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election and is targeted to the relevant electorate.

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