BHP remains a member of some of the most influentially oppositional industry associations on climate policy in Australia. These groups include the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), The Queensland Resources Council, and the NSW Minerals Council. These groups continue to conduct extensive and influential adverse climate advocacy, including through advertising and political lobbying. BHP is also a member of Coal21, an industry fund which lobbies for coal through advertising and political engagement.
This advocacy runs counter to BHP’s stated climate policies and objectives, and undermines Australia’s commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement.
ACCR is calling on the company to reassess its relationship with these groups.
Our recent resolution has been accepted by the company and will be heard at BHP’s upcoming London AGM on Thursday 17 October 2019, as well as its Sydney AGM, on Thursday 7 November 2019.
The resolution was co-filed with:
- Vision Super (Australia), a not-for-profit community super fund with around 100,000 members
- MP Pension (Denmark), a member-owned pension fund with over 130,000 members
- Church of England Pensions Board (UK), providing retirement housing and pensions, set by the Church of England, for those who have served or worked for the Church, with over 38,000 beneficiaries
- ACTIAM (Netherlands), one of the top ten Dutch funds
- Grok Ventures (Australia), the private investment company of Mike and Annie Cannon-Brookes
Together the co-filing group represents around $140bn of assets under management.
The resolution represents the ‘next generation’ of shareholder proposal to companies about adverse-climate lobbying. It moves beyond conventional calls for a review of industry association advocacy, to a recommendation that memberships of industry associations be suspended where these groups’ recent advocacy demonstrates an overall inconsistency with the Paris Agreement’s goals.
History of engagement
ACCR has been engaging with BHP on the issue of adverse climate advocacy by its industry associations since 2017.
In September 2017, ACCR filed a resolution to the BHP board, requesting that it “commission a comprehensive review of [BHP’s] positions, oversight and processes related to direct and indirect public policy advocacy on energy and climate change”. The resolution also called for the termination of paid membership of industry bodies that have demonstrated a pattern of advocacy on policy issues at odds with the company’s positions, and the disclosure of all payments by BHP for direct or indirect lobbying relating to climate and energy policy. The resolution received 9% of the vote at BHP’s November 2017 AGM, and in response BHP made a commitment to conduct a limited review of its memberships.
BHP announced their decision to exit the World Coal Association but to remain with the U.S Chamber of Commerce (USCC). The USCC has a long history of opposing measures to tackle climate change. However, since the Review, many of BHP’s Australian industry associations have continued to advocate for policies which are misaligned with BHP’s own climate and energy policy positions.
- The Sustainability Report BHP Billiton to maintain membership in US Chamber of Commerce 6/4/18
- The Australian Financial Review BHP formally leaves World Coal Association over climate change stance 5/4/18
- The Canberra Times BHP to stick with US group despite ‘material’ divergence on climate 5/4/18
- MENAFN BHP confirms exit from world coal body over climate stance 5/4/18
- VN Express World’s biggest miner BHP to exit global coal body over climate change policy 2/2/18
- The Responsible Investor Paul Hodgson: BHP, another US Chamber of Commerce deserter? 10/01/18
- The Australian Financial Review BHP threat won’t stop Minerals Council coal advertising push 10/01/18
- Sydney Morning Herald ‘Disappointed’ coal lobby group delivers a rebuke to BHP 20/12/17
- Australian Financial Review BHP misrepresented climate stance, says lobby group the World Coal Association 20/12/17
- The Wall Street Journal Mining Giant BHP Breaks With Coal Lobby Over Paris Agreement 19/12/17
- The New York Times B.H.P. Billiton, Acknowledging Climate Change, to Quit Coal Group 19/12/17
- Financial Times BHP to exit World Coal Association over climate policy 19/12/17
- The Australian Financial Review BHP gives Minerals Council a climate ultimatum 19/12/17
- ABC News BHP set to leave World Coal Association, threatens Minerals Council withdrawal 19/12/17
- Sydney Morning Herald Are Australia’s business lobby groups past their peak? 18/12/17
- ABC Radio National The Big Australian under pressure to quit Minerals Council over coal lobbying 17/11/17
- ABC News The world’s biggest miner faced its shareholders in Melbourne 16/11/17
- The Australian Financial Review Can the Minerals Council dig itself out of a hole? 9/11/17
- ABC News BHP backs green groups over the Minerals Council as industry rift widens 9/11/12
- The Guardian BHP opposes Minerals Council of Australia’s war on activist rights 8/11/17
- The Guardian BHP expected to reject activists’ push to give shareholders a greater voice 19/10/17
- BusinessGreen Time for BHP to stop funding attacks on climate actionn 18/10/17
- The Australian Financial Review Letter to the Editor in response to ‘Issue-based activism the new ‘lawfare’ 16/10/17
- The Australian Financial Review Issue-based activism is the new ‘lawfare’ 4/10/17
- The Australian Coal loses as Pearson leaves Minerals Council 4/10/17
- Australian Financial Review Having deposed Grant King, proxy now backs BHP 3/10/17
- Australian Financial Review Barnaby Joyce blames BHP for minerals council turmoil 26/9/17
- Australian Mining Minerals Council of Australia CEO to resign 25/9/17
- Minerals Council of Australia Minerals Council of Australia CEO to Step Down 25/9/17
- End Coal BHP under pressure to dump pro-coal lobby groups over climate policy 20/9/17
- The Newcastle Herald BHP under shareholder pressure to sever ties with Minerals Council 20/9/17
- Sydney Morning Herald BHP facing shareholder demand it dumps membership of the Minerals Council of Australia 19/9/17
- ABC BHP considering Minerals Council exit over lobby group’s climate policies 19/9/17
- Australian Financial Review BHP to review Minerals Council membership after green push 19/9/17
- The Australian BHP Billiton distances itself from MCA’s position on climate change 19/9/17
- The Bull BHP investors want Minerals Council exit 19/9/17
- Reuters BHP pressed to quit Australian mining lobby over climate views 19/9/17