Woodside faces investor backlash over climate strategy

Male hand holds smartphone showing Woodside profit listing (woodside super)
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Woodside is facing a potential investor backlash over climate strategy after a key proxy adviser criticised its emissions reduction plans, Bloomberg reports.

Woodside, Australia’s biggest natural gas exporter, needs to more directly address the Scope 3 emissions from the use of its products, proxy advisory firm Glass, Lewis & Co. said, recommending shareholders reject Woodside’s inaugural climate report at an annual meeting next week.

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While a second adviser, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., recommend supporting the report, it noted concerns including “the absence of quantified Scope 3 targets.” 

The gas giant is among energy producers around the world grappling with the increased demand for natural gas while attempting to appease demands from green-conscious groups and shareholders.

Woodside has set a target to end emissions by 2050 yet is exploring new investments despite warnings from the International Energy Agency last year that the world needs to stop developing new fields to achieve net-zero by that date.   

“Shareholders should be afforded disclosure that allows them to understand and assess a company’s environmental and social risks,” Glass Lewis said.

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“We have concerns regarding the company’s Scope 3 emissions disclosure, its use of carbon offsets, its capital allocation disclosure, and its responsiveness to shareholders.”

Woodside chairman Richard Goyder said it a statement the company was “disappointed that Glass Lewis has recommended that its clients vote against our 2021 Climate Report and respectfully disagree with their conclusions”.

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