A fresh example of the pressure mounting on oil and gas firms to speed up their transitions away from fossil fuels was served up by investors at BP’s annual general meeting today.
More than a fifth (20.65%) of votes cast at the AGM went in favour of a resolution tabled by activist shareholder group Follow This, despite advice from BP’s board to vote against it.
The result meant the climate resolution was rejected, but it did receive significantly more support than the last resolution Follow This filed with BP two years ago, which only got 8.4% of votes.
Mark van Baal, founder of the Dutch group, said the outcome showed investors increasingly understood the need for immediate emissions cuts.
BP acknowledged the poll result and vowed to engage with shareholders on its strategy to make sure their views are “fully understood”.
Before the AGM, Follow This said it wanted BP to set targets that were “consistent” with the Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels.
The resolution demanded targets covering the short, medium and long-term greenhouse gas emissions of BP’s operations and the use of its energy products.
London-headquartered BP had argued the resolution would mean going back to the drawing board on its plans, which would “compromise” the company.
Today, chairman Helge Lund said he was “confident” BP’s strategy was in line with Paris and was “pleased” with the progress being made to transform the firm into a broad energy company.
In the last year, BP has vowed to cut its oil and gas production by 40% by 2030 and pledged to invest 10 times more in low carbon technologies like hydrogen and carbon capture.
The firm has entered the UK and US offshore wind markets and outlined plans to develop Britain’s largest blue hydrogen production facility on Teesside.
This week, BP confirmed it would participate in the ScotWind offshore leasing round.
During the AGM, chief executive Bernard Looney agreed BP had made a “strong start” to executing its strategy.