The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on the 17% vote against BHP’s Climate Transition Action Plan at its UK AGM today.
BHP became the first Australian company to provide its shareholders with an advisory vote on its climate plan, or ‘Say on Climate’. ACCR’s analysis of BHP’s Climate Transition Action Plan is available here.
ACCR understands that BHP disclosed preliminary voting results to the handful of people present at the meeting in London, but hasn’t disclosed voting results to the exchange.
Dan Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
“In an extraordinary affront to shareholder democracy, BHP didn’t field a single question on its remuneration report, director re-elections, climate transition action plan or the three shareholder resolutions. BHP also failed to disclose preliminary voting results. The Big Australian has effectively abandoned accountability and transparency at its AGM.
“If reports of 83% support for its climate plan are true, then BHP shareholders have rubber stamped a plan that will see the company mine coal well beyond 2050—the date by which BHP has committed to achieve net zero emissions.
“Institutional investors have proven that they are easily cowed by big companies like BHP and they’re unwilling to force them to adhere to the Paris Agreement.
“While BHP would have expected near unanimous support, 83% support for a plan that involves significant expansion in fossil fuel production is a terrible signal to send ahead of COP26.
“Despite its claims of climate leadership, BHP’s climate plan isn’t even close to what is required to prevent runaway climate change.
“In FY2022, BHP intends to allocate US$2.3 billion in capital expenditure to oil and gas development, including US$540 million on exploration. BHP is also seeking to extend the life of its Mt Arthur thermal coal mine to 2045 and its Caval Ridge metallurgical coal mine to 2056.
“BHP has failed to set targets for its most material source of emissions - its Scope 3 emissions from steelmaking. BHP generated profits of US$11.3 billion in 2021, yet has allocated just US$65 million to advancing the decarbonisation of steel.”