Sydney, 13 August 2020: The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) has filed a Shareholder Resolution to BHP Group Ltd (ASX:BHP), requesting the company immediately review the advocacy of its industry associations relating to economic stimulus measures in response to COVID-19, and to suspend membership of groups if they are found to be advocating for measures inconsistent with the Paris Agreement.
Commenting on the resolution, Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment, said:
“The advocacy by key BHP industry associations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been fundamentally at odds with the Paris Agreement’s goals: demands for government support and subsidies, fast-tracked approvals for new fossil fuel developments, and an aggressive deregulation agenda.
“This is nothing short of predatory behaviour, seeking to make the most of the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic.
“Global leaders have a once in a generation opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation through widespread economic stimulus measures. If BHP is unwilling or unable to ensure that its industry associations support that transition, then BHP must suspend its membership.
“In 2019, more than 27 percent of shareholders voted for BHP to suspend membership of industry associations whose advocacy was misaligned with the Paris Agreement. BHP needs to stop defending associations that advocate against climate action.
“Shareholders will persist in ensuring BHPs corporate governance mechanisms can flush out these hypocrisies and manage escalating climate risks.”
Background notes to editors
- 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 Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) has called for government support to develop “uneconomic or stranded” gas resources in order to extend the economic life of existing gas infrastructure. APPEA has repeatedly called for further oil and gas exploration, welcomed government subsidies, and lobbied for weaker environmental regulation.
- The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has called for weakened environmental assessments of mining projects, scrapping of environmental regulation, government subsidies for fossil fuel exploration, and opposed the inclusion of Scope 3 emissions in Australia’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme.
- The NSW Minerals Council published a report in July calling for the fast-tracked approval of 21 new or expanded coal mining projects, claiming they were necessary for economic recovery.