During energy giant BP’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) of shareholders on Thursday a number of protesters lobbied criticism towards the company.
In advance of the meeting, investment activism group Follow This filed a resolution that the board encouraged shareholders to vote against.
The Follow This resolution stated that “shareholders support the company to align its existing 2030 reduction aims covering the greenhouse gas emissions of the use of its energy products with the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement”. The agreement seeks to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Additionally, an unrelated resolution, backed by five UK pension funds, sought to reappoint Helge Lund as chair due to BP’s decision to weaken its climate goals. The pension funds include Nest, the UK’s largest workplace pension scheme, and the UK universities pensions scheme.
The five pension funds have a total of $553m (£440m) invested in BP, which represents less than 1% of the company’s total shares.
In February, BP pared back its net-zero commitments to cut its oil and gas output levels by 40% by 2030 when compared with 2019. It has now committed to a 25% reduction.
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Shareholders voted against both resolutions, with 90% wishing to retain Lund as chairman and 83% against the Follow This resolution. Additionally, 280 million withheld their votes.
Disruption to the AGM
During the meeting the company faced a number of questions from attendees, including accusations of greenwashing and complaints about the effects of oil pollution.
Quartz reports that attendees shouted statements such as: “Do you like wildfires?”, “Do you like the natural world? Do you want to see it destroyed?” and “What the fuck is wrong with you, you have no heart and no head”. BP Company Secretary Ben Matthews called on security to have people removed repeatedly.
On the other hand, one man told the company to “grow a pair” and not concede to climate agreements. BP, however, confirmed that it agrees with the findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In February, BP reported record profits in 2022 of $27.7bn, along with other major oil companies.
Colin Baines, stewardship manager at Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, told Quartz: “We have determined that BP has set insufficient emission reduction targets, triggering a vote against the chair of the board in line with our climate voting policy.”