Coalition of investors to pressure oil firms to go green

The coalition includes 150 churches, local authorities and pension funds managing more than £200bn of assets

Tom Bawden
Tuesday 20 January 2015 21:09
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An oil platform in the North Sea
An oil platform in the North Sea

An unprecedented coalition of investors has pledged to put pressure on BP and Shell to become more environmentally friendly by forcing the UK oil giants to assess, announce and tackle the dangers they pose to the climate.

The coalition includes 150 churches, local authorities and pension funds managing more than £200bn of assets. If successful the pressure will be broadened to include other firms that are accelerating climate change in industries such as oil, gas, coal, as well as the banks which finance them.

The shareholder action is being led by the environmental law firm Client Earth and investor group ShareAction.

“It’s time for BP, Shell and other companies with large carbon footprints to face their climate-change risk,” said Elspeth Owens, a barrister for Client Earth.

The investors which have filed the initial actions – in the form of “shareholder resolutions” to be voted on at BP and Shell’s AGMs – include pension funds for local authorities. The group also includes the Church of England, the Methodist Church and some giant Swedish pension funds. The coalition holds about 1 per cent of the shares in both BP and Shell. The resolutions require 75 per cent of the shareholders’ votes to be carried. The resolutions also include calling on BP and Shell to commit to invest in renewable energy.

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