Norway's oil fund to vote against tougher climate targets at BP

Despite plans to be strict on companies that do not adopt credible climate plans last year, $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund built mainly on oil revenue rejects motion to align BP's greenhouse gas targets to Paris climate deal goals

By Reuters

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Published: Mon 24 Apr 2023, 12:15 AM

Norway's $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund, one of the world's largest investors, has said it will vote against a resolution calling on British oil major BP to adopt tougher greenhouse gas targets.

While BP already aims to reduce emissions, the motion filed by activist group Follow This ahead of an April 27 shareholder vote calls on the company to align with the Paris climate deal's goal to limit global warming.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which operates the Norwegian fund, said last year that it plans to take a tougher line on companies that do not adopt credible climate plans.

It did not give a reason for rejecting the motion. But the fund has said in the past that while it sometimes backs environmental, social and governance (ESG) proposals put forward by activist groups, it carefully judges each case on its merits.

Follow This in an emailed statement said NBIM as a major investor should show leadership on climate issues.

"NBIM failed the first real test of its new climate voting policy," Follow This founder Mark van Baal wrote.

The Norwegian fund, itself built on oil and gas revenue, owned 2.73 per cent of BP's shares worth some $2.8 billion at the end of 2022.

BP's board has recommended that shareholders vote against the resolution saying it was "unclear" what it wanted the company to do.

Investor advisers ISS and Glass Lewis also recommended BP shareholders oppose the resolution, while Britain's Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) asked investors to back it.

In February BP rowed back on plans to slash its 2019 oil and gas output levels by 40 per cent by 2030, and now it envisages a 25 per cent cut, angering climate activists.


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