Investors and groups concerned about climate change submitted similar proposals in the last few years, but Exxon resisted.
Increasingly, though, Wall Street and large investors, including fund managers like BlackRock and Vanguard, two of Exxon’s largest investors, have signaled concerns about the risks to companies whose assets were based in fossil fuels that could lose significant value as climate policies and market forces reduce demand.
Exxon would not say how specific funds voted their shares on Wednesday, and Vanguard would not disclose its own vote. A person briefed on BlackRock’s decision said the fund voted with the majority on the proposal.
BlackRock voted for a similar proposal earlier this year at Occidental Petroleum, the first time it had opposed company management on such a measure.
Three years ago, a group of investors withdrew a similar resolution after Exxon agreed to report details of the risks that stricter limits on carbon emissions would place on its business, becoming the first oil and gas producer to do so. But that report lacked the detail that the resolution’s proponents were seeking.
This year, the resolution was led by the New York State Pension Fund and the Church of England investment fund and included dozens of backers like the New York City Retirement Systems.
Supporters hailed the decision as sending a powerful message that investors wanted fossil fuel companies to move toward a low-carbon economy, even if President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris accord.
“The burden is now on Exxon Mobil to respond swiftly and demonstrate that it takes shareholder concerns about climate risk seriously,” said Thomas P. DiNapoli, the New York State comptroller and trustee of the state’s Common Retirement Fund.
Mr. Woods said before the vote that Exxon Mobil…