BHP AGM: Australian investors take a stand on anti-climate lobbying
At the BHP Group Ltd AGM in Sydney, almost a third of shareholders voted for the company to suspend its membership of industry associations that advocate counter to the goals of the Paris climate Agreement.
29.58% of shareholders voted in favour of a resolution calling for suspension of membership of industry associations whose advocacy is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement, and a further 0.62% abstained (preliminary results).
Comments attributable to Brynn O’Brien, Executive Director, Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR):
“This is a strong signal to BHP that Australian investors have woken up to the impact of anti-climate lobbying by its members, and the long-term risks it poses to their portfolios.
“This vote is even higher than the BHP Group plc vote in London last month, which we attribute to the proportionally larger representation of Australian investors on the BHP Group Ltd register, and the scrutiny that BHP has been under locally for the oppositional advocacy of its Australian industry associations.
“This is a huge result on a very direct call for suspension, and represents an awakening for the Australian investment community. Lobbying counter to the goals of the Paris Agreement has been tolerated for far too long.
“Companies should heed this advice and suspend funding to organisations that undertake lobbying counter to the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“We commend the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) for supporting this resolution, and urge other proxy advisers to consider the size of this vote and what it means for their advice in future.
“To all of the industry association standing in the way of the Paris Agreement and their member companies: time’s up. This is the beginning of the end.
“ACCR has filed identical resolutions with ANZ and NAB for consideration at their AGMs in December, and we intend to pursue this issue with Rio Tinto, Santos and Woodside in the new year. The issue of lobbying is not going away.”