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BP follows Shell to back climate change resolution

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The BP board of directors will be advising shareholders to support a resolution on climate change filed by more than 50 institutional investors at its annual general meeting (AGM) on 16 April.

The move comes only days after the board of Royal Dutch Shell said it was backing a similar resolution at its own AGM in May.

The special resolution – ‘Strategic resilience for 2035 and beyond’ – amplified by a supporting statement, calls for routine annual reporting from 2016 to include further information about certain activities related to climate change, including ongoing operational emissions management, asset portfolio resilience to the International Energy Agency’s scenarios, and public policy positions relating to climate change.

It has been filed by Aiming for A, a coalition of more than 50 institutional investors with portfolios totalling £160bn (€214bn), led by CCLA Investment Management, the specialist church and charity fund manager.

Its name is taken from the highest performance rating (A) of CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), an NGO that rates the performance of global companies on climate change. 

BP and Shell have the biggest carbon footprints of all the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Edward Mason, head of responsible investment for the Church Commissioners, who are members of the coalition, said: “The positive way in which BP and Shell have responded to our shareholder resolutions is completely unprecedented. This represents a step change in engagement between institutional shareholders and the oil and gas industry on the strategic challenge that climate change poses to the industry.”

Mason added: “The next step is for investors to back the boards of both companies and to vote for the disclosures that we have requested and that the companies have said they will provide. We look forward to seeing the new in-depth reporting from both companies later this year and to continued engagement.”

BP has not published a formal statement but said it had met the CCLA and other proposers of the resolution.

David Nicholas, spokesman at BP, told IPE: “The board has considered its response and told the proposers we will recommend the shareholders support it at the AGM.

“The proposal is non-confrontational and gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our current actions and build on our existing disclosures in this area.”

Nicholas added that the decision had not been influenced by Shell’s own decision to back a similar resolution.

Details of BP’s response will be sent out to all shareholders with the notice of meeting in early March.

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