Renewable energy good for BHP, but not for everyone else
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is challenging BHP to improve the advocacy of its industry associations, following its commitment to source 50% of its electricity needs from renewables sources for its Queensland mining operations.
Commenting on BHP’s announcement, Daniel Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
“BHP’s commitment to renewable energy is welcome. However, while BHP continues to expand fossil fuel production and its own lobby groups remain critical of renewable energy, this announcement is simply more greenwashing from the best in the business.
“BHP’s lobby groups, including APPEA and the QRC, are behind the Government’s current push for a ‘gas-fired recovery’.
“It’s ludicrous that BHP included a quote from Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane in its media release, given he has previously called for new coal-fired power stations in Queensland and is currently campaigning for government subsidies for new and expanded coal and gas projects.
“BHP’s lobbying footprint in NSW is just as hypocritical. Just last year - throughout the 2019 NSW election campaign, NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee described renewable energy as ‘dangerous’, and that too much of it would lead to ‘economic chaos’.
“Despite BHP lauding a 50% reduction in emissions by 2025, the Business Council of Australia infamously described a 45% target by 2030 as ‘economy wrecking’.
“When will these industry lobby groups be viewed in the clear light that they are: hypocritical, dangerous, and literally a threat to our future.
“BHP can make all the climate commitments it likes, but until such time as its lobbyists stop getting in the way of effective climate policy, it will still be considered a climate wrecker.”
ACCR has filed a shareholder resolution calling on BHP to address the advocacy of its industry associations 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 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.