Institution Theme Category Discussion Questions
  • Aberdeen Standard Investments
  • Environmental
  • Climate
What is the extent of the company's lobbying efforts and participation in trade groups? How does the company ensure that it is not affiliated with organizations that advocate for policies that are incompatible with the Paris accord or other strategic policy positions? How appropriate is the related level of disclosure?
Company Year Market Source Link
BHP 2019 Australia webpage https://www.aberdeenstandard.com/en/insights-thinking-aloud/article-page/bhp

In October 2019, we publicly announced, prior to the AGM of BHP (the world’s largest miner), that we would be supporting a shareholder resolution. At the time of voting, we held a significant 3.3% equity holding in the company…
…Investors had been focusing on BHP’s industry group oversight for some time, due to concerns over climate lobbying activities in its home country, Australia. Engagement from investors had resulted in BHP’s initial Industry Association Review being released in January 2018. Disappointingly, as the resolution pointed out, since that time, and despite BHP’s introduced governance measures, anti-climate change lobbying activities from industry associations where BHP is a major funder arguably had deteriorated. One of many examples being the 950 press releases (420 related to coal) made by the six Australian trade bodies of which BHP is a major member. This runs counter to the promised ‘technology neutral’ approach to climate lobbying and undermines the company’s commitment to align with the Paris Agreement. Additionally, coal assets comprise less than 5% of BHP’s portfolio.
…following our move to publically support a resolution, several other leading asset managers voted in favour. Despite neither of the major proxy advisors supporting this advisory resolution, it gained a significant 22.16% support from investors, with a further 7.72% abstaining, taking it close to 30% in total. This is a significant result and demonstrates that anti-climate change lobbying activities are clearly a major and growing concern for institutional investors.

Related Details

  • Category'
  • Shareholder Proposal
  • Resolution
  • Suspend memberships of industry associations that they evaluated as undertaking lobbying or advocacy activities that were inconsistent with the Paris Agreement goals and therefore not aligned with BHP’s own climate strategy
  • Vote
  • For
  • Rationale
  • Proper oversight of companies’ lobbying activities is a significant climate issue
  • Details
  • …we view proper oversight of companies’ lobbying activities as a significant climate issue for investors’ stewardship efforts. Unfortunately, anti-climate change advocacy activities are getting worse globally.…following our move to publically support a resolution, several other leading asset managers voted in favour. Despite neither of the major proxy advisors supporting this advisory resolution, it gained a significant 22.16% support from investors, with a further 7.72% abstaining, taking it close to 30% in total. This is a significant result and demonstrates that anti-climate change lobbying activities are clearly a major and growing concern for institutional investors.