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Advocates Urge ConocoPhillips to be Transparent About Where it is Booking its Profits, Paying Taxes

Introduction of the resolution and a related demonstration occurred at ConocoPhillips’ annual shareholder meeting

HOUSTON – Shareholders of fossil fuel giant ConocoPhillips met today in Houston to vote on a variety of measures, including a resolution that would require the company to be transparent about the taxes it pays and profits it makes around the world, a step that other corporations in the same industry have taken voluntarily.

It was the first time that ConocoPhillips shareholders were presented with the proposal. Similar proposals have been gaining steam at other companies, though first-time resolutions are often rejected.

The outcome of today’s transparency resolution vote will be known in the coming days.

“Investors and the public deserve to know whether these companies’ successes are based on risky and artificial tax practices,” said Daniel Mulé, Oxfam America’s policy lead for extractive industries, tax and transparency. “If Exxon, Chevron and ConocoPhillips have nothing to hide, they should have no problem joining the growing number of companies publishing this essential information demanded by investors with over $10 trillion combined assets.”

The resolution, introduced by Oxfam America, would require ConocoPhillips to disclose to the public the profits it makes and the taxes it pays in each country where it operates. Multinational corporations have been known to dodge paying their fair share of taxes by booking their profits in “tax haven” countries with low tax rates or even zero corporate taxes. These tax strategies are a risk to shareholders because aggressive maneuvers can lead to legal disputes, vulnerability to changes in tax regulation, and reputational damage to companies. ConocoPhillips is no less likely than other multinational companies to be engaged in these practices.

Outside today’s meeting, tax transparency and climate advocates gathered for a peaceful demonstration to bring awareness to how mega-corporations get away with not being fully transparent with the public and avoiding taxes.

“It is bad enough that fossil fuel corporations operate in a business that we know is changing the climate and damaging the planet. That they also might play tax games is outrageous,” said Maxine Gomez, a Houston organizer with Public Citizen at the demonstration. “The least these corporations could do is be honest with their shareholders and the public about where they are and are not paying taxes. That ConocoPhillips urged a no vote on this commonsense resolution confirms that ‘What are you hiding?’ is asking the right question.”

Full country-by-country disclosure by ConocoPhillips of its profits and taxes would align the company with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) tax standard, the world’s most utilized standards framework for making these public disclosures, and it would create a level playing field with a range of other fossil fuel companies that report through other regimes.

The $10 trillion statistic was calculated by aggregating the assets under management of investors who have publicly expressed support for pCbCR. The full list of investors is included in the methodological note here.