The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) has filed two shareholder resolutions with BHP Group (ASX:BHP), seeking that the company proactively advocate for climate policy that is aligned with limiting warming to 1.5°C and that it include a climate sensitivity analysis in its audited financial statements.
Commenting on the resolutions, Harriet Kater, Climate Lead (Australia) at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
“Since 2020 BHP has been telling its shareholders that limiting warming to 1.5°C is the best outcome for the company. BHP needs to move beyond its industry associations by positively advocating for the ambitious policy needed to get Australia on track for a 1.5°C pathway.
“BHP is Australia’s largest company with huge political influence and a massive opportunity to align business interests and policy with a safe climate.
“In its 2022 report on the mitigation of climate change, the IPCC identified the influence of the fossil fuel lobby as a major barrier to decarbonisation. The industries with the most to gain from decarbonisation must speak up and counter the policy stranglehold of the oil, gas and coal lobby.
“BHP remains a member of industry associations that have a toxic influence on Australia’s climate policy. This resolution does not let BHP off the hook from also having to constrain the advocacy of those associations.
“We have already seen members of the LNG industry seeking to undermine the Safeguard Mechanism. BHP must step up as it has a critical role in advocating for comprehensive, effective policy that drives the swift decarbonisation of Australia’s industrial sector.
“BHP is generally regarded as a leader in climate disclosures and yet it is still playing catch up on the incorporation of climate change in its financial statements.
“With the demerger of BHP Petroleum and the decision to wind down Mt Arthur, BHP is less exposed to climate transition risks. However shareholders need further detail on how its metallurgical coal business will perform in a credible 1.5°C scenario.
“The need to reflect climate change in financial statements is not specific to BHP. All companies exposed to the transition and physical risks of climate change need to show shareholders what the financial consequences might be.”
In 2021, BHP supported an ACCR shareholder resolution which sought that it review its industry associations, identify areas of inconsistency with the Paris Agreement, and suspend membership if inconsistency was identified.
ACCR has filed the same shareholder resolution seeking a climate sensitivity in the audited notes to its financial statements to Origin Energy’s 2022 AGM.