|Origin Energy Limited||2020||N/A||https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/press-release/blk-vote-bulletin-origin-energy-oct-2020.pdf|
We have engaged with members of Origin’s board and management over a range of material environmental, social and governance issues, including climate-related risks and opportunities, indigenous peoples’ affairs, industry associations, board composition and strategy, amongst others.
…We believe that Origin has demonstrated adequate business practices related to its fracking operations, based on our analysis of the company’s disclosures and our engagement, and has made appropriate efforts to procure consent from the Native Titleholders for its exploration projects in the Beetaloo Sub-Basin.
In acquiring the permits for the Beetaloo project, Origin has engaged and obtained consent from the Northern Land Council (NLC) – which requires spending considerable time and resources to ensure adequate knowledge of the fracking process amongst the community. Under its Exploration Agreements for exploration and appraisal work, Origin provides work program plans to the NLC and Native Titleholders a year in advance, holding regular meetings as part of wider process of consultation, engagement and information sharing about activity and locations for planned work.
Crucially, the major opponents of the project do not have rights over the land operated by Origin. Rather, the host traditional owners whose land Origin operates on have publicly stated their support for the project. An elder from the Beetaloo community and a host traditional owner requested to speak at the 2019 Origin AGM on behalf of all host traditional owners, in support of the project and the positive changes it will bring to the community.
- Consent and Fracking
This is the third consecutive year that the shareholder proponents have raised concerns at Origin’s AGM regarding the affected Native Titleholders – noting that the company has done little to address these concerns over its fracking projects in the Beetaloo Sub-Basin.
BIS believes that Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is critical in ensuring the rights of Aboriginal peoples and has highlighted the importance of robust community engagement by companies seeking access to traditional lands. In addition, companies should consider whether complying with legal requirements is sufficient to ensure FPIC and a good understanding of the views of the local community. In some circumstances, companies may determine that additional measures are warranted.
We believe that Origin has demonstrated adequate business practices related to its fracking operations, based on our analysis of the company’s disclosures and our engagement, and has made appropriate efforts to procure consent from the Native Titleholders for its exploration projects in the Beetaloo Sub-Basin.
…Furthermore, we note that the proposal is overly prescriptive, given the short timeframe within which it requests Origin to publish a report (by June 30, 2021).