BHP GROUP | Company consistency with limiting warming to 1.5°C at BHP GROUP

12.73% votes in favour
AGM date
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ESG theme
  • Environment
ESG sub-theme
  • Net Zero / Paris aligned
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
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Company HQ country
Resolved clause
Shareholders request that our company proactively advocate for Australian policy settings that are consistent with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
This resolution addresses our company’s potential to exert climate-positive policy influence in Australia.
Whereas clause
Australia is a long-time laggard on climate policy, but a recent change in government means that there is an immediate opportunity to accelerate the decarbonisation of its economy. The fossil fuel lobby remains the biggest impediment to Australia’s transition. Our company is the largest in Australia with significant influence and reach across the economy, politics and society. Our company states that it understands the “urgent global challenge”4 of climate change and the IPCC’s warning that warming of 2°C will have significantly worse consequences than limiting warming to 1.5°C.5 Given this understanding, and the major opportunity our company sees for its commodities from rapid decarbonisation,6 it is reasonable for shareholders to expect that our company uses its significant influence to call for policy that will enhance the probability of limiting warming to 1.5°C. Such efforts will protect and indeed enhance long term shareholder value.
Supporting statement
[Miners of future-facing metals must counter the fossil lobby]
The 2022 IPCC Working Group III report on Mitigation of Climate Change identified that a major threat to limiting warming to 1.5°C is the “power of incumbent fossil fuel interests to block initiatives towards decarbonisation.”8 Australia received a special mention, with the IPCC stating that “campaigns by oil and coal companies against climate action in the US and Australia are perhaps the most well-known and largely successful.”9 The coal lobby, including our company’s industry associations such as the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), continues to play a damaging role in Australia.10 Whilst the recent federal election in Australia set the stage for increased national climate ambition, there are signs that the MCA11 and the oil and gas industry12 will be seeking to water down the effectiveness of evolving climate policy. Unsurprisingly, campaigns that are oppositional to rapid decarbonisation are wielded by industries that have the most to lose as the world transitions away from fossil fuels. The share of our company’s revenue that is driven by fossil fuels has further declined as a result of the BHP Petroleum spinoff. Diversified mining companies have a significant amount to gain from ambitious climate policy, 13 yet these companies are insufficiently supportive of such policies. It is not in our company’s interests to be silent or ambiguous about its preferred policy positions, particularly since the fossil fuel lobby is so vocal and obstructive.

[Our company’s influence]
Our company is very willing to wield its political influence on issues that it sees as a threat to its business. In 2010, it helped to bring down Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd due to his proposed super profits tax for the mining industry.14 In 2017, our company lobbied against a proposed mining tax in Western Australia that saw a party leader lose his seat.15 In 2022, it has thrown its weight behind an emerging campaign against the Queensland government’s coal royalty rate rise.16 History shows that our company can get what it wants by way of policy in this country. Whilst such aggressive lobbying against taxation is not condoned, shareholders should question why our company is not applying a similar assertive approach to advocacy for the policy settings required to limit warming to 1.5°C. On numerous occasions, such as when our company17 and its industry associations were successful in campaigning for the repeal of Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism,18 our company has used its influence to undercut climate action. Whilst there are some promising early signs our company may start to advocate for the opportunities and new sources of national prosperity from decarbonisation,19 it is not yet using its extensive political influence to enhance the ambition of climate policies in Australia in support of 1.5°C.

[Policy opportunities]
As a major winner from rapid decarbonisation, our company should consistently and positively advocate in line with the 1.5°C goal. Specific advocacy opportunities include:
– Publicly supporting significantly enhanced ambition in Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution for 2030 and 2035.
– Advocating for the Australian government’s Safeguard Mechanism20 to incentivise real reductions in industrial emissions over land based offsets, for scheme settings to allow for ambition to be ratcheted up, and to prevent carve outs or loopholes.
– Proactively engaging with policy ideas to decarbonise Australia’s mining industry, such as proposals to phase out the fuel tax rebate for the mining sector to incentivise the electrification of mine haulage.21 Just last year the MCA, our company’s industry association, aggressively resisted such a proposal.22
– Openly supporting proposals to insert a climate trigger for state and federal government project approvals. – Actively supporting enhanced renewable energy rollout and electrification policies.
– Advocating for the adoption of best practice technologies to accurately measure methane fugitives from coal mining, including the use of local ground based monitors, satellites and aerial surveys.
– Lobbying governments to establish enabling policy for a global green iron and steel industry.
– Working to ensure none of its industry associations are lobbying against a 1.5°C trajectory. It is expected that our company considers the climate implications of all of its direct and indirect policy advocacy and aligns its approach to 1.5°C. ACCR urges shareholders to vote for this proposal.

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