BHP backs away from Kyoto credits, issues new guidelines for lobby groups
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) welcomed BHP’s retraction of its support for Kyoto carryover credits in its newly published Global Climate Policy Standards.
On 13 August, ACCR filed a resolution to BHP calling for the company to immediately review the advocacy of its industry associations relating to economic stimulus measures in response to COVID-19, and to suspend membership of groups if they are found to be advocating for measures inconsistent with the Paris Agreement.
Based on these standards announced by BHP, ACCR and investors would expect BHP to adopt this resolution.
Commenting on BHP’s global climate policy standards, Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment, said:
“In 2019, investors were aghast to learn that despite BHP’s claims of climate leadership, it supported Kyoto carryover credits, which would effectively halve Australia’s 2030 emissions target.
“Ahead of the federal election in 2019, the Minerals Council of Australia declared it ‘sensible’ for the government to effectively cheat on its 2030 target.
“It wasn’t sensible then, and it isn’t sensible now. We welcome the fact that BHP has finally withdrawn its support for this absurd accounting trick.
“Now that Australia’s two largest miners, BHP and Rio Tinto, no longer support Kyoto carryover credits, the Business Council of Australia and the Minerals Council of Australia must withdraw their support too.
“ACCR’s latest shareholder resolution calls on BHP to confront the predatory advocacy of its industry associations throughout COVID-19. APPEA, the Minerals Council of Australia and others continue to seek an entrenchment of fossil fuel development - during one of the most vulnerable times in our economy.
“BHP must put a stop to this.
“In 2019, more than 27 percent of shareholders voted for BHP to suspend membership of industry associations whose advocacy was misaligned with the Paris Agreement. While BHP’s commitment to real-time disclosure of misalignments is welcome, it has remained silent throughout COVID-19 as its industry associations run rampant.
“If BHP is to be taken seriously, the board should endorse ACCR’s resolution submitted yesterday, recommending suspension of memberships when advocacy is misaligned with the Paris Agreement.
“Without this action, BHP’s announcement today is simply toothless.”
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.