by jesse morton, technical writer
At its annual general meeting, BHP shareholders voted against the company pulling out of industrial organizations with pro-coal ties, according to wire reports.
The resolution foisted at the meeting in London was worded to align the multinational mining company with United Nation’s climate change initiatives. Corporate leadership had pursued the action for almost two years.
Shareholders overwhelmingly voted it down. At the meeting, 42% of the shareholders voted on the resolution and overall a paltry 22% voted in favored the resolution.
Corporate leadership at BHP, the largest mining company by market capitalization and the largest coal producer in Australia, had previously pined to pull out of the World Coal Association, the Minerals Council of Australia, and even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — all groups that support continued coal use through political advocacy.
If the resolution had passed it would have made BHP the latest large global institution moving to align better with the climate-change agenda.
Over the course of the last two years, Rio Tinto’s corporate leadership advocated policy moves similar to those pushed by BHP leadership. Glencore, No. 3 in market cap behind Rio Tinto, in April reported it would not produce any more coal than it does now in an effort to align with UN initiatives. However, it didn’t report it would sell or scale coal production back.
On October 16, insurer Axis Capital Holdings announced it will not provide new insurance or reinsurance to coal miners, some of their suppliers, and others involved in fossil fuels.
In August, Commonwealth Bank of Australia announced it was nixing financing coal projects.
In Q1 2019, China’s behemoth State Development & Investment Corp. declared it would cease investing in coal power.
In Q3 2018, Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, reported it will cease investing in companies with certain ties to coal.
In Q2 2018, Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund reported it was moving to cut coal investments. Synchronously, the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the oldest, biggest and most storied banks in the world, declared it was restricting lending to coal projects. Around that time, Pensioenfonds Van De Metalektro, a $55.4 billion pension fund in the Netherlands, said it was pulling out of investing in coal-linked companies. And HSBC, the largest bank in Europe, announced it would stop financing coal projects.
In Q1 2018, the monolithic Lloyds Banking Group reported it will not fund coal mines or coal power projects.