Oil Search has become the latest Australia-listed oil and gas player to give shareholders a vote on its climate change report at next year’s annual general meeting.
Oil Search confirmed Thursday it would put its climate reporting to a non-binding, advisory vote of shareholders at its 2022 AGM.
The company added that it had a track record of transparency with its climate reporting, claiming in 2018 it was one of the first ASX-listed companies to report in alignment with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
“The non-binding, advisory vote complements the commitments Oil Search made following its Strategic Review last year,” Oil Search chairman Rick Lee said in Thursday’s announcement.
“In addition to our leadership in climate change disclosure and community engagement, we have set meaningful and measurable GHG (greenhouse gas) targets and we are committed to assessing the opportunities associated with the energy transition. Oil Search aims to be a net zero energy company by 2050 and we look forward to engaging with our Members and discussing our climate change approach.”
Falling in line
Oil Search’s decision to give shareholders a non-binding, advisory vote on its climate report at the 2022 AGM followed similar moves this month by fellow ASX-listed companies Woodside Petroleum and Santos.
All three companies had faced pressure from shareholder advocacy organisation, the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), which welcomed Oil Search’s announcement on Thursday.
However, ACCR director of climate and environment, Dan Gocher, also took aim at the company’s emission reduction targets.
“Oil Search’s only climate target relates to emissions intensity. It has no plan to reduce emissions over the short-, medium- or long-term,” he said.
“Oil Search is planning to substantially increase production in the medium-term, which will come at the expense of emissions reductions in the critical decade to 2030.”
Say on Climate framework
Gocher also called on other ASX-listed companies to adopt the ‘Say on Climate’ framework and voluntarily commit to providing shareholders with an annual vote on their climate reporting.
“Due to the rapid transition taking place in the energy sector, it is imperative that shareholders are provided with the information required to assess the future earnings and value of these companies,” he said.
“The Say on Climate framework will provide shareholders with the opportunity to send a clear signal to the board about whether the company is effectively managing the risks of climate change.”
Say on Climate is a global climate-corporate governance initiative launched last year by TCI Fund Management, an activist fund run by UK billionaire Chris Hohn, and its related charitable foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
ACCR claims the aim of the initiative is to: “generate a widespread increase in focus of listed companies and their investors on developing and delivering Paris-aligned plans, with increased accountability around substance of and performance against those plans through annual shareholder votes.”
Say on Climate resolutions have been filed with a number of companies, not just in Australia but globally.