We took the step of co-filing a shareholder resolution for BHP’s annual general meeting, because like BHP, Vision Super believes we need to limit climate change in line with the Paris goals.
The scientific community tells us the need for action is increasingly urgent. Lobbying by organisations BHP is funding is counter to BHP’s strategic interests, to Vision Super members’ interests as shareholders through your super, and to all of our interests as global citizens who live on planet earth.
The shareholder resolution has a number of eminent organisations co-filing alongside Vision Super. For legal and other reasons, the wording of the resolution is quite complex. But the message we are sending BHP is clear - stop funding organisations that are lobbying government to be able to dig up and burn more coal.
This is the resolution:
Ordinary resolution on lobbying inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement
Shareholders recommend that our company suspend membership of Industry Associations where:
(a) a major function of the Industry Association is to undertake lobbying, advertising and/or advocacy relating to climate and/or energy policy (Advocacy); and
(b) the Industry Association’s record of Advocacy since January 2018 demonstrates, on balance, inconsistency with the Paris Agreement’s goals.
Nothing in this resolution should be read as limiting the Board’s discretion to take decisions in the best interests of our company.
At Vision Super we pride ourselves on being a fund that invests and operates responsibly for the environment and our community. Our environmental and social responsibilities are underpinned by the overarching principle that as an industry fund, we put our members’ interests first in everything we do.
We want to make sure that the companies that we invest in are doing their best to minimise their impact on the environment and act ethically, because we know that creates long-term value for our members as shareholders through your super. A shareholder resolution is a proposal submitted by shareholders, like Vision Super, for a vote at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM). Although the resolutions are generally non-binding, which means the company doesn’t have to follow the resolution, they’re an effective way of raising awareness about an issue and putting pressure on a company to act when engaging with them in other ways hasn’t worked.
BHP is committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement, which is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels; and to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would substantially reduce the risks and effects of climate change. However, meeting the Paris goals requires public policy support, and BHP is continuing to fund industry associations that are lobbying against effective government policy to address and limit the effects of climate change, for example by lobbying for government support for new thermal coal mines. This lobbying contributes to a political environment where sensible bipartisan policy on energy and climate change seems unachievable. This is counter to BHP’s long-term interests, and therefore to our members’ interests as shareholders through their superannuation. If you’re interested in reading more about why climate lobbying is important, the PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) has produced a report on climate lobbying practice, which you can read on their website.
You can find more details of our active ownership approach, and a full voting record of how we’ve voted on other shareholder resolutions here.