In a case study of how BlackRock engages with companies to advise them on our perspectives on best practice, we worked with Santos Limited (Santos) to set in place new disclosure practices on climate change.
…Ahead of the Santos annual general shareholder meeting, the company received a proposal from a group of 100 shareholders, who collectively held 0.018% of shares. The proposal requested the company include routine annual reporting of climate change risk and opportunities in line with the recently released draft recommendations from the TCFD.
BlackRock has been engaging with Santos over a number of years on issues relating to corporate governance, including disclosures around the environmental impact of coal seam gas extraction, associated community relations, and climate change risk policies. These engagements involved meeting with the chairman as well as management at the company’s coal seam gas operations.
The final TCFD framework is yet to be released. Nonetheless, BlackRock reviewed Santos’ disclosures and found them to be generally in line with the draft TCFD framework. However, there was room for improvement in explanations around the governance of the climate risk policy and how it is integrated into the investment decision-making process. We met with Santos’ chairman to share our perspective and listen to his explanations of the company’s approach on behalf of the board and management.
We determined to vote with the board’s recommendation on the shareholder vote as, following on our discussions, Santos released [ongoing disclosure commitments].
- Include annual reporting of climate change risk and opportunities
In our assessment, the company’s commitment to climate change risk disclosure goes well beyond the request in proposal. It demonstrates the value of direct engagement between a chairman and long-term shareholder, particularly one that has established a relationship with the company over time.