At BHP’s Australian AGM today, a shareholder resolution with the support of investors worth AUD $12.3 trillion collectively gained the support of nearly a third of its shareholders.
The resolution called for BHP to suspend membership of industry associations whose advocacy is inconsistent with the science-backed goals of the Paris agreement to limit climate change to 1.5◦C above pre-industrial levels.
29.58 per cent of shareholders voted for the resolution, with 0.62% abstaining.
Acting Vision Super (which co-filed the resolution) CEO Michael Wyrsch said the result at the AGM saw over 30 per cent of shareholders fail to support BHP management on the issue – a similar result to the group’s AGM in London where an identical resolution was filed.
“The level of support for the resolution sends a strong message to BHP,” Mr Wyrsch said.
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“The lobbying of industry groups like the Minerals Council of Australia and their related entity, Coal21, is undermining sensible, bipartisan public policy on energy and climate change.
“BHP is a major funder of these industry associations that are lobbying against sensible climate policy, and its suspension of these memberships would send a strong signal to these associations that pro-coal lobbying needs to stop.
“BHP needs to take on board that shareholders are increasingly losing patience with this kind of lobbying, and immediately suspend their memberships of industry associations that continue to effectively advocate against the Paris Agreement.
“Lobbying against effective climate policy aligned with Paris is against Vision Super members’ interests as shareholders in BHP through their super, and it’s against everyone’s interests who wants a habitable planet to live on.
“We are running out of time to deal with this issue before it’s too late.”
The news comes after more than 11,000 scientists warned climate change could bring “untold suffering” to humanity.