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Investors with more than $5 trillion target BHP over coal funding

Thu, 10th Oct 2019 10:41

MELBOURNE, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Investors representing A$8
trillion ($5.4 trillion) have backed a call for BHP
to ditch funding for industry groups whose
actions are inconsistent with the Paris climate agreement, an
Australian NGO said on Thursday.

The Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a small
shareholder in BHP, the world's biggest listed miner, co-filed a
resolution in September that recommended the company suspend its
membership of such industry bodies.

But BHP said its board would recommend shareholders vote
against the resolution at its annual general meetings because it
was already reviewing its industry memberships and the policy
positions taken by those groups since January 2018.

BHP will hold its London AGM on Thursday next week and in
Sydney on Nov. 7.

Non-government organisation ACCR said in a statement that a
base of 27 investors would back its resolution, including the
Californian superannuation fund CalPERS, AXA Investment
Managers, BNP Paribas Asset Management and Aviva Investors.

This also includes the Church of England Pensions Board and
top-five investor Aberdeen Asset Management, which said this
week that they planned to support the resolution.

It was unclear what percentage of BHP shares the 27
investors held in total.

BHP is trying to establish itself as a leader in
climate-change management after Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie
in July pledged to spend $400 million on curtailing emissions.

It also says it believes engagement can promote best
practice. It funds several industry bodies, including the New
South Wales Minerals Council of Australia, which has launched an
advertising blitz in support of coal jobs in the state.

The NSW Minerals Council is rallying public support for an
overhaul of state planning laws after the state's Independent
Planning Commission blocked several coal projects, citing
concerns over climate change.

The NSW council referred Reuters to its climate change
policy, which says it supports a measured transition to a
low-emissions economy including participation in global
agreements such as the 2015 Paris accord.

It also says "sustained global action is required to reduce
the risks of human-induced climate change".

Australia, among the world's largest per-capita carbon
emitters, is also the world's largest coal exporter. New South
Wales, where BHP's Mt Arthur thermal coal mine is located, is
the second largest coal-producing state.
($1 = 1.4826 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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