News ID: 252923
Published: 0641 GMT May 17, 2019

BP faces investor push to beef up fight against climate change

BP faces investor push to beef up fight against climate change
LUKE MACGREGOR\REUTERS

BP will face pressure at a meeting next week to set tougher targets to combat climate change, the latest signal from investors that they want the oil and gas industry to do more to clean up its act.

After BP's 2018 carbon emissions rose to their highest in six years, the London-based major is being lobbied by activists and an increasing number of shareholders to ensure its operations are in line with goals set by the 2015 Paris climate deal to curb global warming, Reuters reported.

 

BP has already backed a resolution being put to investors on Tuesday for it to be more transparent about its emissions, link executive pay to reducing emissions from BP's operations and show how future investments meet Paris goals.

The motion, proposed by BP and a group of 58 shareholders holding 10 percent of its shares, known as Climate Action 100+, is expected to pass at BP's annual meeting in Aberdeen.

But some investors want BP to go further and follow the lead of rival Royal Dutch Shell, which bowed to years of lobbying and set the toughest industry targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

"BP now is at the same stage as Shell was two to three years ago," said Eric Rutten, head of the responsible investments committee of Aegon, BP's biggest Dutch investor with shares worth $26 million in the $142 billion firm, Refinitiv data show.

His investment company is backing a resolution drawn up by activist group ‘Follow This’ that would require BP to reduce emissions not just from its own activities but also from the fuel and products it sells to customers.

While the resolution stands little chance of passing, even those not backing it still want BP to step up its commitments.

"We'd like to see the company set its own targets," Ashley Hamilton Claxton, head of responsible investment at Royal London Asset Management, a top-20 BP investor with a 0.4 percent stake.

"We'd consider supporting more stringent targets, such as those proposed by Follow This, if the board fails to make meaningful progress," she said, adding her company would abstain over the Follow This resolution rather than vote against it.

BP said in a statement it welcomed engagement with shareholders and wanted "to be a constructive partner in the energy transition. We're working on this with governments, society and our investors."

BP is not alone in coming under pressure. Follow This and other activists have proposed a similar resolution to shareholders in US energy firm Chevron, while a Follow This motion was rejected by investors in Norway's majority state-owned Equinor this week.

Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest listed energy firm, has also been pushed by some investors to set emissions targets, although the regulator ruled in April that it did not have to put it to shareholders' vote.

   
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