Woodside walloped on climate as it doubles down on fossil fuels with approved merger
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on the results of the Woodside (ASX:WPL) annual general meeting today.
98.66% of shareholders supported the Woodside and BHP Petroleum merger
48.97% of shareholders voted against Woodside’s climate plan.
12.4% of shareholders supported ACCR’s resolution on climate-related lobbying.
12.06% of shareholders supported ACCR’s resolution on decommissioning.
Harriet Kater, Climate Lead (Australia) at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
On Woodside’s Say on Climate vote
“At 48.97% against, Woodside has surpassed Santos (36.93% against) as the company with the lowest level of shareholder support for a transition plan since the inception of the Say on Climate mechanism.
“Extraordinarily, despite the low shareholder support for the climate plan, all four directors up for election, including chair of the Sustainability Committee Ann Pickard, obtained at least 95% support. This sends conflicting messages to the Woodside board regarding how seriously shareholders are taking climate change.
“Woodside’s paltry climate targets cover just 10% of its emissions footprint and rely almost completely on offsets to meet these targets.
“Woodside has made it very clear to investors that it has no real intention of shifting its business model away from fossil fuels. Recent comments from Meg O’Neil about dusting off Browse and Sunrise only reinforce the company’s steadfast commitment to climate destruction.”
On the climate-related lobbying resolution:
“As a major member of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), Woodside is funding advocacy that conflicts with its stated commitment to the Paris Agreement.
“Regardless of the fact that warming of 1.5 degrees could occur as soon as 2026, Woodside and its industry associations continue to advocate for a massive expansion in the oil and gas industry.
“Woodside shareholders have failed to connect the dots between Australia’s climate policy paralysis and the conduct of the company. This has portfolio-wide consequences for institutional shareholders.
“Regardless of the election outcome, Australia will remain an international climate laggard if the oil and gas industry continues to stand in the way of climate action.”
On the decommissioning resolution:
“Be it the Northern Endeavor fiasco, a recent ASIC investigation into provisioning or repeated compliance actions by regulator NOPSEMA, Woodside has severely mishandled its decommissioning obligations.
“The unanimous support for the BHP Petroleum merger only enhances Woodside’s exposure to decommissioning risks and associated costs.
“Considering the escalating risks around decommissioning for Woodside, shareholders have squandered this opportunity to demand heightened disclosure. We anticipate shareholder understanding and concerns about the issue will only grow in coming years.”
ACCR’s analysis of Woodside’s climate plan can be found here
ACCR’s briefing on the two resolutions is available here
ACCR’s questions for Woodside auditor Ernst and Young are available here