“Green rebellion” threatening BP annual shareholder meeting

Some of the largest pension funds in the United Kingdom demanded that BP toughen its...

Some of the largest pension funds in the United Kingdom demanded that BP toughen its plans to reduce its emissions by 2030 at its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday. 

A resolution put forth by climate activists at Follow This asked BP to align its emissions reduction plans with the Paris Agreement. The National Employment Savings Trust, Nest, which represents about 11 million individual workplace pensions, also planned to support the resolution. 

The founder of Follow This, Mark van Baal, claimed that BP’s current emission-reduction plans fall short because they rely on lowering the carbon intensity of the energy BP sells, even though absolute emissions are anticipated to continue increasing through the end of the decade. 

To prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the Paris Agreement mandates that all nations reduce their emissions. 

Van Baal has written to BP’s shareholders urging them to vote in favour of their resolution, saying it was “the only way to compel BP to reduce emissions this decade”. 

BP’s board, on the other hand, urged shareholders to vote against the resolution, saying it is “unclear”, “simplistic” and “disruptive”. The company added that it would threaten BP’s “long-term value creation”. 

In recent years, activist shareholders like Follow This have increased their pressure on oil companies. One of the oldest fund managers in the City of London, Legal & General Investment Management, supported a similar resolution proposed by Follow This at Shell’s AGM in 2021. Thirty percent of Shell’s shareholders approved of the resolution. 

As companies face further pressure to lower emissions, concrete data and plans are key.  

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