ACSI supports climate change shareholder resolution against Woodside Media Release

Apr 15, 2011 - 9:30pm


The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has recommended its members support the Climate Advocacy Fund’s* climate change disclosure resolution at Woodside Petroleum’s AGM, Australian Ethical Investment and The Climate Institute said today. 

“It is encouraging that ACSI has recommended support for the resolution that asks Woodside to annually disclose the carbon price assumptions it uses in its assessment of new and ongoing capital expenditure” said Julian Poulter, Business Director at The Climate Institute.

“With up to half of Woodside’s stock value at stake over a single assumption, it is natural that ACSI would want its members to be able to decide whether Woodside is taking sufficient action to manage its climate risk.”

“Woodside CEO Don Voelte has talked about project risk and carbon regulation but in the next breath Woodside wants investors to provide billions of dollars of capital based on some vague hope that global growth in carbon regulation slows down - it’s not going to.”

ACSI is Australia’s leading investment industry association and the largest shareholder voting adviser with over $300 billion under advice including many of the country’s largest industry funds.

In a rare move, ACSI has gone against the recommendation of Woodside’s board to reject the Climate Advocacy Fund resolution on the company’s carbon price assumptions.

In September 2010 the Climate Advocacy Fund lodged a climate change resolution with Woodside Petroleum. The board failed to table this preferred shareholder resolution asking it to disclose its carbon price assumptions. Instead, the Woodside board has obliged the Climate Advocacy Fund to opt for a second type of resolution that would require a change to the company’s constitution.

The Woodside board has recommended shareholders vote against the resolution while ACSI, in a voting alert to members, has recommended the resolution be supported. 

James Thier, Executive Director of Australian Ethical Investment, said: “Shell Australia, the largest Woodside shareholder, has itself publicised its own assumptions about future carbon prices in western economies. At the forthcoming AGM more than 200,000 other Woodside shareholders will have the opportunity to support the resolution that, like Shell, Woodside should disclose its future carbon price assumptions.”

The resolution will be put to the Woodside AGM on 20 April 2011. It requires a 75% shareholder vote and asks Woodside annually to disclose the carbon price assumptions it uses in its assessment of new and ongoing capital expenditure.

The Climate Advocacy Fund also lodged a resolution for consideration at the Oil Search AGM scheduled for 10 May. That resolution has been withdrawn because Oil Search has agreed to the Climate Advocacy Fund’s proposal.

*The Climate Advocacy Fund is a passively managed ‘index’ fund, managed by AEI and supported by The Climate Institute, open to Australian investors, see – climateadvocacyfund.com.au

For further information:
James Thier | Executive Director, Australian Ethical Investment |  0410 442 701
Julian Poulter | Business Director, The Climate Institute |  0402 488 877

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