Minerals Council membership on the chopping block at BHP AGM tomorrow
A shareholder resolution which calls for the termination of paid membership of industry bodies like the Minerals Council of Australia that have demonstrated a pattern of advocacy on policy issues at odds with BHP’s positions over the period 2012 to the present day will be voted on tomorrow.
View ASX announcement of Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility’s resolution here.
Due to BHP’s dual listed structure, it is unclear whether the result of the vote will be revealed during tomorrow’s AGM. ACCR will be calling on BHP for full transparency.
Resolution 2 highlights three key national policy areas of material relevance to BHP shareholders:
- Carbon pricing: BHP has long supported the introduction of a carbon price, while the MCA has obstructed any policy mechanism that would achieve this goal;
- Finkel Review: In June 2017, the MCA sought to undermine adoption of the Finkel Review’s recommendations on energy policy. These activities continue to diminish the federal government's ability to resolve the national energy crisis. BHP, in contrast, was broadly supportive of the Finkel recommendations.
- New coal-fired power generation and fossil fuel subsidies: while BHP has stated its support for Australia meeting its Paris Agreement commitments, the MCA has advocated for policy measures inconsistent with this. The MCA spent almost $2.5m promoting coal-fired power generation in the lead-up to the 2016 federal election.
WHAT: The resolution will be heard at the 2017 Annual General Meeting of shareholders of BHP Billiton Limited.
WHERE: Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne & Olympic Parks, Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne
WHEN: 11am Tomorrow 16 November 2017
Executive Director of Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) Brynn O’Brien said: “This vote is about about accountability over the increasingly obvious conflict between the mining giant’s interests, and policy advocacy by the Minerals Council of Australia.
“While BHP has committed to review memberships, this not enough. The damage has already been done. Shareholders have an interest in setting an objective threshold for terminating memberships, to ensure that this type of conflict does not go unchecked again.
“A direction by shareholders to ask BHP to cut off using their funds to prop up the MCA would be a seismic shift in the world of anti-climate lobbying.