Mining giant BHP has established standards that call upon Australian lobby groups to advocate for Paris agreement-aligned emissions reductions, and halt their support of energy policies that favour fossil fuels as opposed to renewables.

BHP, the largest mining company in the globe, updated its website Friday with information regarding freshened climate-related expectations of its industry lobbyists – such as the Minerals Council of Australia, the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association – which have received shareholder criticism for public-policy positions concerning fossil fuels.

The miners’ goals take the form of advocacy for targets that increase with time and are geared toward the achievement of net-zero emissions by 2050, and policies to reinforce that transition, including a price on carbon.

The new standards also specify a need for balanced lobbying – preventing them from emphasising the expenses related to climate action without taking into consideration the consequences and experiences associated with inaction – and to make sure that their lobbying does not criticize nor advocate a solitary energy source or commodity above another. Lobbying methods that could worsen policy conflicts are not to be employed.

Mining companies in Australia are being pressured by activists and investors to be more responsive to climate issues.

The biggest global wealth manager, BlackRock, has declared a partial retreat from thermal coal investment—this owing to climate issues. Australia’s First State Super, meanwhile, has established a 30 per cent emissions-reduction target across its portfolio by 2023 and 45 per cent by 2030.

BHP has declared its intention to collaborate with its industry associations to generate public standards and plans for their future advocacy efforts by year’s end, and then would watch their efforts in real-time to ensure that they are in keeping with their own guidelines. The new guidelines will call upon industry groups to outline annually the policy areas they plan to support.

Top BHP investors have asserted that the company’s industry group links had served as a prime tool of engagement for them with the miner, especially by way of the Climate Action 100+ initiative, due to the major part that lobbyists play in formulating or putting a block on climate change policy.

AMP Capital head of sustainable investment Emily Woodland asserted that BHP’s new framework has been a major step forward and the result of exhaustive consultation.

BHP has acted as a primary champion for climate change action, pressuring policymakers for a price on carbon and vowing to establish heightened goals to fight its own emissions, i.e., emissions from patrons using its products, like coal and iron ore. Yet the mining giant has been pressured by lobbyist groups to walk the walk, so to speak, when it comes to adhering with its own mission and the objectives of the Paris climate agreement.

At its last yearly shareholder meeting, one in three BHP investors have supported a resolution summoning the company to suspend its membership of major Australian lobby groups said to be contrary with Paris objectives to limit global warming to below 2 degrees. The resolution made note of the lobbyists’ public support for fossil fuels, shown in the subsidies for coal-fired power stations in Australia, the creation of a new thermal coal basin and the lifting of gas drilling bans throughout the nation.

The Minerals Council of Australia, which lauded BHP’s policy, declared a positive and constructive approach to its advocacy of mine workers and companies.

Emma Herd, head of the Investor Group on Climate Change, stated that all mining companies should be collaborating with lobby groups to make solid climate policy that will facilitate the transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.

 

*Source https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/bhp-puts-powerful-lobby-groups-on-notice-over-climate-change-20200814-p55lom.html