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AP2, AP4 win Statoil backing for climate-change resolution

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The board of Statoil, the Norwegian oil and gas company, has backed a climate change resolution to be proposed by Swedish buffer funds AP2 and AP4 at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) on 19 May.

The resolution – ‘Strategic resilience for 2035 and beyond’ – calls for Statoil to expand reporting regarding greenhouse gas emissions; its project portfolio against relevant post-2035 scenarios; and research and development plans for low-carbon energy.

It also asks the company to report how it takes sustainability into its strategic key indicators and bonus system.

In a joint statement, Ulrika Danielson, head of communications at AP2, and Arne Loow, head of corporate governance at AP4, said: “Since oil-related energy companies have challenges ahead in terms of both financial and environmental issues, we see this resolution as a good tool to help Statoil to strengthen its reporting on climate change issues.”

Statoil, in recommending shareholders to support the proposal, said its board of directors welcomed shareholder interest in better understanding the company’s risk exposure and strategic approach to climate change.

It said: “We work to address the climate challenge through our industrial approach to create a resilient company and in support of industrial initiatives contributing to the development of well-designed carbon-pricing schemes, efforts to reduce flaring and methane emissions and to pursue industrial solutions designed to reduce the environmental impact of oil and gas production.”

It said it was a leader in the industry on transparency in its financial reporting, and that the board would ensure its 2016 sustainability reporting would evolve further to include the additional information.

Danielson told IPE: “Climate change and reporting are two main focus areas for us, and we believe that measuring and managing risks and opportunities related to climate change is important.”

Both AP2 and AP4, along with AP3 and more than 50 other investors, co-filed a similar resolution at BP’s AGM on 16 April, which BP’s board supported and was overwhelmingly passed by shareholders.

The resolution was driven by the £170bn (€140bn) Aiming for A investor coalition, a UK-focused investor initiative led by charity fund manager CCLA and including the UK’s Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) and church investment bodies such as the Church of England Pension Board.

Aiming for A was launched in 2012 to engage on climate and carbon risk with the 10 largest extractives and utilities companies in the FTSE 100.

Its name is taken from the highest rating (A) awarded by CDP – formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project – an NGO that rates the performance of global companies on climate and environmental matters. 

The same group of investors that proposed the BP resolution will co-file a similar resolution at Royal Dutch Shell’s AGM, also on 19 May, which the Shell board is supporting.

Helen Wildsmith, head of ethical and responsible investment at CCLA, said: “It’s excellent to hear that BP and Shell’s leadership is being replicated in other markets by Statoil, and that our Swedish co-filers were able to secure another board-supported shareholder resolution at such short notice this year.”

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