Thursday 9 March: In an Australian first, a formal statement has been filed on behalf of over 100 shareholders, urging all investors to vote against Santos’ remuneration report on climate risk grounds.
Will van de Pol, Acting Executive Director, Market Forces said:
“Shareholders are sending a strong message to Santos that its remuneration structure is inconsistent with the company’s claimed support for the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
“Santos’ rampant pursuit of new fossil fuel production, sanctioned by the board and incentivised with big executive bonuses, represents an abject failure of corporate governance.”
The statement has been circulated to all shareholders with Santos’ Notice of Annual General Meeting, with the remuneration report to be voted on at the company’s 6 April AGM. A similar shareholder statement has been filed with Australia’s other major oil and gas producer, Woodside, which will hold its AGM on 28 April.
New analysis from Market Forces reveals Santos’ increasing oil and gas production plans are likely to see the company’s total emissions increase by 40 per cent from 2022 to 2030, while Woodside is projected to increase its total emissions by 40 per cent from 2022 to 2027.
“Despite investor demands to align with global climate goals, Santos and Woodside are pursuing new high-cost, high-risk, decades-long oil and gas developments that are incompatible with achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
“We urge all investors to address the climate risk failures of Santos and Woodside’s boards at the upcoming general meetings,” said Mr van de Pol.
Market Forces has also supported Santos and Woodside shareholders to file resolutions calling on the companies to protect capital in the face of mounting climate transition risk by managing down oil and gas production in line with a net zero emissions by 2050 pathway.
Similar proposals have attracted support from major investors including Allianz Global Investors, Fidelity International, Aviva Investors, CalSTRS, Credit Suisse, HSBC Global Asset Management, and UBS Asset Management over the past two years.
“Investors that support the climate goals of the Paris Agreement and net zero emissions must vote for the ‘Capital Protection’ shareholder resolutions, and vote against Santos and Woodside’s remuneration reports as well as directors standing for reelection at these companies’ April annual general meetings.”
Santos recorded a ‘first strike’ against its remuneration report at its 2022 AGM. A second consecutive vote of 25 per cent or more against the remuneration report will trigger a ‘spill motion’, meaning shareholders will vote on whether or not to spill the entire board and make them stand for reelection.
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