Anyone watching the presentation on sustainability at Caltex annual general meeting (AGM) today would think the company, the petroleum brand of Chevron, is earnest about tackling emissions. Chairman Steven Gregg insisted that Caltex is acting in line with the Paris Agreement and taking our global climate emergency seriously.
However, a recent Market Forces report, Out of line, out of time, found Caltex is one of 21 major companies dragging us in completely the wrong direction, pursuing new fossil fuel projects and basing their business plans on the failure of the Paris climate goals. Our report called for investors, particularly our superannuation funds, to stop investing in big polluters such as Caltex until they can show how they are willing to transition from dirty fossil fuels.The company is also one of Australia’s biggest fossil fuel donors to political parties, giving $96,907 between 2017-2018.
One trillion-dollar investor, the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund has already divested totally from Caltex, causing a serious slump in its share price a few months ago.
Caltex continues to invest in expansionary fossil fuel infrastructure and repeatedly talks up the growth prospects of its fuels and infrastructure business. This is despite multiple reports, including from the World Energy Council, the UN International Panel for Climate Change and the International Energy Agency, all stating that exploring and opening up new gas fields is out of line with keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels.
Caltex CEO Julian Segal summed this up neatly himself at last year’s AGM when he said: “If we were to put a target to reduce emissions by 50% [in line with the Paris Agreement] that would mean closing the refinery at Lytton.”
Caltex may have produced a sustainability report this year, but as shareholders commented, it still hasn’t published what a 1.5 degree world would look like for the company.
“We’re not addicted to hydrocarbons per se,” commented Segal when asked whether they would produce a 1.5 degree scenario.
“We are reviewing all sorts of alternative fuel provisions as well. Our service station sites are an ideal platform for electric charging stations, which will we’ll be looking to put some pilot sites on later this year,” Gregg explained.
While it’s good to see a willingness for transition, actions are what matters. Until Caltex can demonstrate how it will transition to 1.5 degrees, they will stay on our blacklist alongside a handful of other uninvestable companies.
Your super fund probably owns shares in Caltex and other companies putting our planet in peril by expanding fossil fuels. Tell your super to ditch Caltex and other climate-wreckers.