The large British industrial group specializing in hydrocarbons British Petroleum (BP) faces, Thursday, April 27, a revolt of shareholders, reassembled against its decision to slow down its energy transition, and who promise to vote against the re-election of the chairman of the board of 'administration.
The general assembly, being held on Thursday afternoon in London, was disrupted from the start by activists from the non-governmental organization (NGO) Fossil Free London repeatedly interrupting speeches by the group's chairman, Helge Lund, and Chief Executive Bernard Looney to voice their opposition to the company's carbon neutral strategy.
"2050 is far too far, we must act now", launched an activist to the leader, judging that the group's climate objectives were "not sufficient". “As individuals, you are responsible for the chaos you impose,” another chimed in. “Stop drilling to extract fossil fuels. Security brought out several activists, and the general assembly continued on Thursday afternoon.
Several activists had been refused entry to the general assembly, but a handful were still able to enter, said a spokesperson for the NGO Fossil Free London.
Some of the largest pension funds in the United Kingdom have, for their part, warned that they will oppose the renewal of Helge Lund's mandate at the end of the general meeting. Shareholder activism organization Follow This has also tabled a resolution, calling on the group to be more ambitious in its climate goals.
“But this resolution is not the answer. It is not clear what it is asking BP to do,” Lund said at the opening of the meeting, saying instead that the strategy put forward by the group is “a coherent transformation program”.
Five pension funds announce vote against the president
BP announced in February, on the sidelines of record results, that it intended to boost its profits by 2030 by investing more both in renewable energies and in hydrocarbons, thus slowing the pace of its energy transition.
Greenpeace, which a year earlier praised "the most ambitious of the oil giants" for its transition, then castigated commitments "undermined by pressure from investors and governments".
Five pension funds have announced that they will vote against the reappointment of the chairman of BP, according to the British press. Among them is Nest, which will also support the resolution of Follow This. "If BP continues on this trajectory, we have serious concerns that they will achieve their carbon neutrality goal and the long-term success of the business," Nest said. The fund says it wants to see investment "more in low-carbon solutions and renewables, rather than new oil and gas sites." Brunel, another pension fund, will also vote against the renewal of the president of BP.
Follow This believes that a "carbon neutrality target for 2050 is insufficient", and asks the group to align its emissions reduction targets for 2030 with those of the Paris agreement - which aims to limit global warming by below two degrees and if possible at 1.5°C compared to the period 1850-1900.
"We recognize that some shareholders and other stakeholders may have different views on the decisions we make," the board responded in response to the resolution. But he "considers [his climate strategy] broadly consistent with the Paris goals," he added, calling on shareholders to vote against.
The environmental association Les Amis de la Terre calls, for its part, to tax BP and the other large energy groups more in view of their exceptional profits drawn from the surge in prices with the war in Ukraine, to help drastically reduce bills for households.