BP pledges more transparency

28th April 2015

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Timothy Schoonenberg

The board of oil and gas company BP has agreed to disclose more information on its greenhouse-gas emissions and the resilience of its assets as the world switches to a low-carbon economy in which tighter restrictions are placed on burning fossil fuels.

Shareholders had demanded more transparency in a special resolution put to the company’s annual general meeting. The resolution, “Strategic resilience for 2035 and beyond”, directs BP to include in its annual reports from 2016 further information about: the firm’s operational emissions management; asset portfolio resilience to the International Energy Agency’s climate change scenarios; low-carbon energy research and development, and investment strategies; and public policy positions relating to climate change.

It states that the company’s annual submissions to the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) as well as the data it already publishes in its sustainability review could provide the basis for the additional information that is required.

BP chair Carl-Henric Svanberg told the meeting that the board supported the resolution. He declared climate change a challenge, but noted that the world had made encouraging headway in disconnecting economic growth from rising energy consumption through efficiency and low-carbon initiatives.

He said an orderly transition to a low-carbon economy required putting a price on carbon, a faster switch from coal to gas, a greater focus on energy efficiency and more support for lower carbon technologies. “We are taking action in all of these areas,” said Svanberg.

The resolution was backed by 98% of shareholders that voted.

CDP chair Paul Dickinson described the vote as “a game-changing day”. He said: “The way that BP’s management and shareholders have come together to pass a resolution of this kind is unprecedented. It represents a major change in attitude in one of the biggest companies on the FTSE 100, with one of the highest carbon footprints.”

The list of major international investors backing the resolution included: Aviva Investors; Jupiter Fund Management, Schroders; the Universities Superannuation Scheme; Dutch pension fund manger APG; and French financial companies Amundi and BNP Paribas.


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