Historic result at BP annual general meeting

On Thursday 16 April, a shareholder resolution on climate risk – co-filed with the help of many Rathbone Greenbank clients – received overwhelming support at BP’s AGM with 98% of all votes cast supporting the resolution at the recommendation of the group’s board of directors.

On Thursday 16 April, a shareholder resolution on climate risk – co-filed with the help of many Rathbone Greenbank clients – received overwhelming support at BP’s AGM with 98% of all votes cast supporting the resolution at the recommendation of the group’s board of directors.

BP AGM Presentation

Rathbone Greenbank has been a key member of the Aiming for A coalition since its inception in 2011 and filing of the resolution marked the end of several years of constructive but challenging engagement with the company.

BP’s chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg devoted almost half of his opening remarks to the topic of climate change, explaining how the company plans to respond to growing awareness of the potential risks to its business model.

Resolution 25 was entitled ‘Special resolution: to direct the company to provide further information on the low carbon transition’ and received almost an hour of discussion – itself unusual when debate on shareholder issues at the end of a long agenda is usually truncated.

Formal statements in support of the resolution were made by 12 institutional investors: this level of support and the physical attendance of so many such shareholders to speak on this matter were unprecedented in the history of UK shareholder engagement.

In passing the resolution, shareholders ensured that BP’s annual reporting from 2016 onwards will include more information on its operational emissions management, and the resilience of its business model to the International Energy Agency’s 450 Scenario. This sets out an energy pathway for limiting the global increase in temperature to 2°C,  by restricting the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to around 450 parts per million of CO2.

This binding resolution also commits the group to make public its approach to key performance indicators, executive incentives and its public policy relating to climate change.

This historic decision by BP shareholders will create a new benchmark in the quality of climate risk disclosure by oil and gas companies – and is testament to the commitment of Rathbone Greenbank to engage constructively on behalf of its clients.