BHP shareholders vote against resolution to lobby Australian government on climate

(Image courtesy of BHP.)

BHP Group shareholders voted against a resolution calling on the mining giant to lobby the Australian government on its climate change policy at its annual general meeting on Thursday.

Only 13% of shareholders voted in favour of the resolution, which was opposed by BHP’s board, according to results of the AGM released by the miner on the bourse.

The resolution called on BHP to proactively advocate for Australian policy settings that are consistent with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Another resolution for climate change accounting in its financial statements only got 19% support from shareholders after the board recommended to vote against it.

Both resolutions were filed by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR).

BHP said a group of 176 shareholders representing approximately 0.008% of the shares on issue in BHP had proposed these items.

The resolution “would unnecessarily interfere with the Board’s and management’s ability to assess and respond to future public policy developments,” the miner said in its shareholder information document.

“BHP has publicly stated our belief that the world must pursue the aims of the Paris Agreement and BHP already advocates for climate policy relevant to the Group in a way that is consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives,” it said.

The ACCR, in a statement, said it was surprised the BHP board recommended against both resolutions, and that the recommendations undermined its stated commitment to climate change action and best practice disclosure.

“Whilst BHP’s climate rhetoric is strong, the company is increasingly being shown up by its peers when it comes to ambition,” said Harriet Kater, Climate Lead at ACCR.

“Investors are noticing this and starting to question whether the culture at BHP is sufficient to genuinely steer the company to align with a net zero world.”

(By Praveen Menon; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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