BP advises shareholders to vote against Follow This climate resolution as pension funds increase pressure

PRESS RELEASE on BP AGM on April 27 

BP advises shareholders to vote against the Follow This climate resolution (resolution 25) that requests the oil major to align its 2030 Scope 3 emissions reduction aim with the Paris Climate Agreement, according to the Notice of Meeting released today. 

The advice follows BP’s announcement to dial back one of its climate aims, emboldened by the decrease in votes in favour of the Follow This climate resolution in 2022 to 15%, down from 20% in 2021. Meanwhile, for the first time, pension funds threaten to vote against board members. 

“We trust that investors who hoped that voting was not necessary in 2022, now realise that voting is crucial to compel BP to align with Paris,” responds Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This. “Paris-aligned voting has to regain momentum in 2023.” 


Wake-up call 

“BP’s reversal was a wake-up call for institutional investors, asset managers and pension funds. It will be up to major shareholders to get the company back on track.” 


Stewards of the global economy 

“Investors have much more to worry about than the return on capital of oil majors. They have to worry about the returns of their entire portfolio in the global economy, and these are in great danger if the world fails to reach the goal of the Paris Accord.” 

“As stewards of the global economy they realize that the only formal power they have as a shareholder is the power of the vote.” 


Follow This climate resolution with focus on Scope 3 by 2030, co-filed by institutional investors managing $ 1.3 tr. 

Please find attached the Follow This climate resolution. The resolution’s supporting statement summarizes the key arguments for responsible investors to vote in favour, including BP’s plans to increase absolute emissions by 2030. 

This increase will occur despite BP’s plans to decrease its own production; BPs’ total Scope 3 emissions are approximately three times as high as the Scope 3 emissions of the fossil fuels BP itself extracts, given that the company also sells third-party fossil fuels. 


BP states that the resolution is 1. unclear, 2. it encroaches on the board’s responsibility and accountability for the company’s strategy, 3. is simplistic, and 4. disruptive. 

“These arguments are contradictory and ignore the key ask of the resolution: large-scale emissions reductions by 2030 that are necessary to reach Paris, but that BP does not want to pursue.”  


Voting against directors 

The UK pension funds USS and Borders to Coast (which together oversee £130bn in assets) take voting one step further: they will vote against BP and Shell directors, unless both companies improve their commitments to tackling carbon emissions, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. 

For the first time in years, BP’s AGM is in April instead of mid-May.