GLOBAL - Church investors from the UK and the US will highlight their ongoing concerns about BP through their votes at the oil major's AGM next week.
By combining tried and tested local stewardship approaches and not pressing ahead with a shareholder resolution, the group of responsible investors - including asset manager CCLA, the Church Investors Group (CIG), the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and Christian Brothers Investment Services - is giving BP the chance to reassure them that the company is systematically addressing operational and strategic risks by the anniversary of Bob Dudley becoming chief executive in October.
James Bevan, chief investment officer at CCLA, said: "BP investors are still seeking reassurance and evidence that safety issues and climate change are being taken seriously in the company and are high on the board's agenda."
Bill Seddon, CIG vice-chair and chief executive of the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, added: "Concerns remain about BP's disclosure, so we will be joining other CIG members in voting against the re-election of the chair of the board's safety committee and the company's remuneration report."
The UK and US faith investors in BP agreed to work together following last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
They will continue to collaborate with other long-term responsible investors in Europe and the US, focusing on investor meetings with Mark Bly, executive vice-president of safety and operational risk, that are taking place in London and New York next month.
Dominique Biedermann, director at the Swiss-based Ethos Foundation, said: "Investors who considered co-filing a 2011 resolution have undertaken a gap analysis of BP's recent disclosures.
"Based on this, Ethos cannot approve the annual report and accounts, the remuneration report and three members of the board's safety committee. The investor meetings with Mark Bly provide an ideal place for BP to close that gap."
The 2011 process focuses on UK-style case committees, but will revert to a shareholder resolution for BP's 2012 AGM if that fails.
Investors initially agreed to co-file a shareholder resolution for the BP 2011 AGM are:
Christian Brothers Investment Services (US - lead co-filer)
Bon Secours Health System (US)
Calvert Asset Management Company (US)
Catholic Health East (US)
Catholic Health Partners (US)
CHRISTUS Health (US)
Ethos Foundation (Switzerland)
Everence Financial (US)
Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company (Finland)
Mercy Investment Services (US)
Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia (US)
Some members of Ceres (US)
Shareholder advocate Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (UK)
Some supporters of Fair Pensions (UK)
Some clients of Rathbone Greenbank Investments (UK)
Only eight shareholder resolutions relating to social or environmental issues were filed at UK company AGMs between 2006 and 2010.