Wednesday 12 May 2021 6:16 pm

80 per cent of BP shareholders reject climate proposals to reduce emissions

Shareholders have voted against a plan that would have forced BP to strengthen its climate commitments.

More than 79 per cent of investors voted against a resolution proposed by shareholder group Follow This, which pushes oil companies to reduce their emissions. BP said that 20.6 per cent of votes were in favour of the plan.

After the result was finalised, the company said: “We will continue to engage with shareholders on our strategy, targets and aims so as to ensure their views are fully understood.”

Follow This said that BP’s targets are not consistent with the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, and criticised the company’s net zero target for not including one of its major investments.

However, it was unable to convince enough shareholders to back a resolution that would have forced BP to publish targets consistent with Paris, and would limit global warming to below 2°C. It also called for annual reports into what BP is doing to decarbonise.

However, shareholders listened to BP’s board, which recommended them to vote against the resolution at today’s annual general meeting.

Paris climate accord

BP said it already has a Paris-consistent strategy that will cut the carbon intensity of products it sells in half by 2050.

Part of the disagreement comes to how a business can figure out whether it is following the Paris targets.

“There is no single path to Paris, and there is no single metric that measures Paris consistency,” chief executive Bernard Looney said during the shareholder meeting.

The company said that the Follow This resolution would force it to go back to the drawing board on strategy, targets and aims, and “would disrupt our business plans.”

However, Follow This said: “This is exactly what shareholders should request of BP by voting in favour of resolution 13: BP should go back to the drawing board and disrupt its current business plans which involve an increase in emissions.”

At the meeting Looney was also pushed by shareholders over why he did not include BP’s stake in Russia’s Rosneft as part of its net zero targets. Rosneft is a major oil producer, yet BP has totally excluded it from the climate goals.

Chairman Helge Lund said that BP only owns a 20 per cent stake in Rosneft, so cannot unilaterally make climate decisions. The controlling owner of Rosneft is the Russian government.

Looney added: “The world is going to be using oil and gas for some time”, adding that “Rosneft’s greenhouse gas intensity is lower than most major oil companies.”