Woodside scrambles at 11th hour to save directors’ jobs
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on reports that Woodside Energy Group has exclusively notified some investors of an intention to provide shareholders with a non-binding advisory vote on its climate plan in 2024, after resisting such calls for the last 12 months.
Alex Hillman, Lead Analyst at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR):
“Woodside held a Say on Climate vote in 2022 and ignored the result. In an 11th hour bid to save one of its directors, it has now capitulated and offered a Say on Climate vote in 2024.
“It took a proxy adviser to recommend against director Ian Macfarlane to finally put a chink in Woodside’s armour of hubris. But this commitment is too little, too late.
“Woodside’s decision to communicate this concession exclusively to a subset of investors that subscribe to a proxy advisor service, rather than any of the three stock exchanges that Woodside is now listed on, demonstrates an ad hoc approach to climate governance.
“We have asked Woodside to make the Chair’s letter generally available through notification to the ASX and this request was declined. This approach falls far short of best practice and results in information asymmetry across its shareholder base in advance of a looming, contested AGM.
“We encourage investors to consider whether another non-binding advisory vote a year away is going to shift the dial on Woodside’s climate strategy, particularly as the Chair repeatedly states the company is committed to its current path.
“This is a tactical play designed to kick the can down the road for another year. It simultaneously highlights that Woodside is unwilling to take material measures to address climate change and that it has a reactive and chaotic approach to governance.”