At BP’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Aberdeen yesterday, a climate change shareholder resolution has been passed with the support of 99.14% shareholders. The binding resolution (number 22), filed by investors acting as part of Climate Action 100+, means the company will now need to set out a business strategy consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The resolution had received the support of the BP board.
Stephanie Pfeifer, a member of the global Climate Action 100+ Steering Committee and CEO, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), explains: “The scale of support for the Climate Action 100+ resolution sends a clear message that investors expect companies to act on climate change. With the resolution passed, BP is now legally bound to set out a strategy to ensure it is aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The company believe they already meet this objective, so it’s now down to them to show this is the case.
“Investors will reserve judgement and expect BP’s response to be sufficiently robust. They will pay close attention to how it addresses emissions across its full value chain and expect to see clear evidence that any future material capex investment is consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“Building on positive engagement with BP to date, investors will also look for progress on addressing climate change in other areas. As was made clear at the company’s AGM, this includes a commitment to ensure BP’s lobbying activity supports the Paris goals.”
The scale of support for the resolution received reflects the growing importance investors place on climate change as a matter of corporate strategy and corporate governance. Investors owning just under 10% of the company’s voting shares tabled, or ‘co-filed’ the resolution. This was an unprecedented level of investor backing secured for the resolution even before the AGM vote.