BP fends off protests and investor revolt at AGM
Activist shareholders called for BP’s chairman to be ousted
Energy company BP survived a shareholder revolt and protests from climate campaigners over its decision to slow its energy transition.
Chief executive Bernard Looney, originally set out a “net zero carbon” plan that included a goal to cut the company’s oil and gas production by 40% compared with 2019 by the end of the decade.
In February he reset the target to 25% by 2030 after reporting the highest profits of BP’s 114-year history thanks to soaring oil and gas prices.
A shareholder resolution at the company’s AGM in London was proposed by activist investors at Follow This which called on BP to align itself to the Paris Climate agreement.
However, only 16.75% of shareholder votes were cast for the resolution after BP’s board recommended investors vote against it.
An attempt to unseat chairman Helge Lund also failed, as only 9.57% of shareholders voted against his re-election.
Seven climate protesters were removed by security as they repeatedly interrupted Mr Lund and Mr Looney as the meeting began.
It came as Mr Looney recommitted the company to a plan to invest a further $8 billion (£6.4bn) in oil and gas by 2030, on top of an equivalent extra investment in the energy transition.
A woman initially shouted that Mr Lund was “not telling the truth about the climate crisis”, as he started speaking at the ExCel centre in London’s Custom House.
Referring to BP’s plan to have net zero emissions by the middle of the century, she said: “2050 is far too late. We are nearly at the tipping point.”
Mr Lund said: “I and we do not doubt the good intentions of all of this and their supporters. We share their desire for the world to meet the Paris goals, but this resolution is not the answer.
“What it calls for BP to do is unclear. It does not recognise that our strategy, ambitions and aims constitute a coherent and integrated programme of transformation for BP.
“Nor does it take into account the update to our strategy in February.”
About 18% of shareholders voted against the company’s £10m pay package for Mr Looney.