Media release

BHP: not good enough; try harder

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR) is urging BHP to go back to the drawing board on its new climate change targets.

The IPCC’s 1.5°C Report from 2018 says that in the absence of carbon capture and storage (CCS), the share of primary energy provided by gas must decline by 20-25% by 2030, and by 53-74% by 2050 (relative to 2010).

BHP has committed to reduce its operational emissions (Scope 1+2) by 30% by FY2030, from a FY2020 baseline.

BHP has also set “goals” to support technologies “capable of” reductions in emissions intensity in steelmaking by 30% by 2030, and reducing the emissions intensity in BHP-chartered shipping by 40% without a fixed date.

Commenting on BHP’s Climate Change Report, Dan Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“Despite promising the world, BHP fails to deliver any meaningful outcomes in terms of actual emissions reduction. It needs to try harder. BHP should be aiming for a 40-60% reduction in all of its emissions by 2030.

“While BHP claims that its medium term target ‘falls within the range of emissions reductions required to be aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement’, most climate scientists would disagree. BHP is also cynically using FY2020 as a baseline, rather than a historical, lower number.

“BHP may have finally given up on thermal coal but it and its industry associations are still betting heavily on gas - which is proven to have the same, if not worse emissions than coal once fugitive methane emissions are factored in.

“BHP continues to rely on unproven and horribly expensive carbon capture and storage (CCS) to decarbonise its Scope 3 emissions, rather than simply leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

“One of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, BP, made such a commitment last month, demonstrating that it is possible. Anything less than a commitment from BHP to cap then reduce production of fossil fuels over the coming decade is simply inadequate.

“BHP’s US$400 climate investment program hasn’t changed since July 2019, and is dwarfed by the $US8-9 billion it was planning to spend on oil and gas projects before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.”


BHP’s greenhouse gas emissions, FY2020

SourceEmissions (mt CO 2 -e)
Scope 19.5
Scope 26.3
Scope 3 - Upstream22.3
Scope 3 - Downstream, Transport & Investments7.9
Scope 3 - Downstream, Processing of sold products210.8 - 327.8
Scope 3 - Downstream, Use of sold products130.5 - 205
Source: Pages 23 & 28, Climate Change Report 2020

ACCR has filed a shareholder resolution with BHP for consideration at its AGMs on 14 and 15 October, calling for a review of its industry associations’ advocacy through COVID-19.

Following its 2019 review of industry associations, InfluenceMap found that BHP had not “fulfilled [its] commitments to address misalignments between [its] stated positions and the lobbying of [its] industry associations on climate”, nor acted with the urgency demanded by its shareholders.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) published a report in August that called for government support of $500 million for new gas pipeline infrastructure, incentives for further coal and gas exploration, amnesties from changes to royalties and taxes, and significant deregulation of the resources industry. The QRC has also welcomed government subsidies of $125 million for fossil fuel exploration and land releases for gas exploration, and called for the fast-tracking of coal mine approvals.

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