Media release

ACCR files five shareholder resolutions with Origin

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) has successfully filed five shareholder resolutions with Origin Energy Limited.

Origin has notified the ASX this afternoon of the receipt of the valid shareholder resolutions to be heard at its upcoming AGM on 16 October.

The resolutions, which can be read in full here (along with supporting statements), are as follows:

  1. Special resolution to amend the company constitution*
  2. Ordinary resolution on Informed Consent relating fracking activities in the Beetaloo Sub-Basin
  3. Ordinary resolution on public health risks of coal operations (Eraring coal-fired power station)
  4. Ordinary resolution on Paris Goals and targets
  5. Ordinary resolution on climate lobbying by industry associations

*Standard procedural resolution, required to enable the filing of substantive resolutions 2-5.

The shareholder resolutions on Informed Consent (2), climate targets (4) and lobbying (5) build upon similar resolutions which were filed at Origin’s 2018 AGM. ACCR’s 2018 resolution on lobbying at Origin’s AGM received 46% of shareholder support, which was a record result for a shareholder proposal on an environmental, social or governance issue in Australian corporate history.

Attributable to Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) Executive Director Brynn O’Brien:

“Filing four substantive resolutions with one company is unprecedented, but Origin Energy has failed to give shareholders comfort that it is proactively managing the risks it faces in a rapidly changing world. Each of these resolutions simply asks for a clearer articulation of Origin’s approach to risk.

“The company’s planned fracking activities in the Beetaloo Sub-Basin come with multi-faceted risks. First, there are serious questions about the adequacy of any due diligence that was undertaken when Origin acquired its interest in the Beetaloo permits, in order to ensure that relevant native title holders had given informed consent for fracking to take place on their land. Resolution 2 seeks confirmation from the company that appropriate consents were given.

“We are in a climate crisis caused in large part by the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. Origin’s planned exploration and expansion into a new fossil fuels basin in 2019 is a highly questionable strategy, not to mention a risky use of shareholder funds. Resolution 4 seeks to ensure that Origin’s capital expenditure, including each material investment in the acquisition or development of oil and gas reserves, is tied to the goals of the Paris Agreement, an agreement which it has committed to supporting.

“Recent research demonstrates that air pollution from Origin’s Eraring coal-fired power station is responsible for significant adverse public health impacts. Resolution 3 seeks an analysis by the company of the capital and operating expenditure required to mitigate the public health impacts of that facility until its planned closure date, 13 years from now.

“Finally, despite a 46% shareholder vote at last year’s AGM, Origin has not taken action to rein in the adverse climate lobbying of the industry associations it funds. Suspension of lobbying memberships where groups’ advocacy goes against company and shareholder interests is an obvious and simple way to minimise risk.”

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