Media release

Origin Energy AGM: record 46% vote slams anti-climate lobby

At Origin Energy’s AGM today shareholders voted on three resolutions that were lodged by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR).

The 46% vote in favour of resolution 9D is the largest vote for any shareholder proposal (without Board support) in Australian corporate history and is a clear rebuke to the carbon lobby.  It far exceeds the 18% vote on ACCR’s Rio Tinto lobbying resolution in May 2018.

You can read the results here.

NT Fracking (7.73% for, 2.17% abstain)

Brynn O’Brien, Executive Director of ACCR said:  “This is a momentous occasion. This is the first shareholder resolution of its kind ever voted upon in Australia, and perhaps the world.

“Traditional Owners have traveled from remote parts of Australia to speak to their concerns, and to stand up for their rights and their communities.

“10% of investors have voted against the Board’s advice. This is a solid base from which to build, but represents the challenge that lies ahead in working with the Australian investment community to increase their understanding of the human rights impacts of business.

“Local Government Super and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) who publicly declared their vote before the AGM as well the other funds who voted in support should be commended for taking a principled position and one that we believe best serves shareholders’ interests in managing business risk. The failure of the vast majority of shareholders to use their leverage to ensure the company’s processes are in line with its commitments is deeply disappointing.

“Over the last 12 months, however, we built our vote on lobbying from 9% at BHP to 46% today, and we will do it again for consent, standing alongside Traditional Owner communities who are exercising their rights to self determination.“

Emissions targets (11.83% for, 2.11% abstain)

Dan Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment, ACCR said: “Nearly 12% of investors have called for Origin to set interim targets, prior to 2032. While it is encouraging to see a sizable vote against the board, it is deeply alarming that despite the recommendations from the IPCC on what is needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the majority of Origin’s investors have given the company a free pass to increase its emissions for the next 14 years.

“According to the IPCC, globally we must reduce emissions by 45% (on 2010 levels) by 2030. This is vastly more ambitious than Origin’s existing set of targets.

**“**Origin’s 50% target hinges solely on the closure of its Eraring coal-fired power station which will be at the end of its economic life in 2032. It is incumbent upon investors to ‘look under the hood’ of such commitments, and hold companies to account where they amount to nothing more than business as usual.”

Climate lobbying (46.32% for, 2.08% abstain):

Dan Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment, ACCR said: “The 46% vote against the board is a record for a shareholder proposal on an ESG issue in Australian corporate history. It is a landmark shift from the investment community and signals that oppositional lobbying on climate and energy policy will no longer be tolerated.

“Origin is culpable for the corrosive influence of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), the Business Council of Australia and the Queensland Resources Council, amongst others. Investors clearly understand that such advocacy puts their long-term portfolios at risk, and this vote is a message to all ASX-listed companies, that the days of obstruction are over.”

Link to resolutions and supporting statements here.

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