Home > Woodside fights historic investor demand for Paris-alignment

Woodside fights historic investor demand for Paris-alignment

30 April 2020

30 April 2020

A record-breaking 50% of Woodside Petroleum’s investors today voted in favour of a shareholder proposal calling on the company to align with the Paris climate goals.

This is an incredible result, considering the Woodside board’s vehement opposition to the resolution.

Coordinated by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), the resolution specifically asked Woodside to:

  • Set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its entire value chain, consistent with the Paris climate goals;
  • Ensure any exploration and capital expenditure is consistent with Paris; and
  • Incentivise progress towards the targets.

Woodside’s refusal to adopt and support this proposal demonstrates the company has no interest in bringing its operations into line with a safe climate future.

As Chair Richard Goyder stressed a number of times, Woodside has no plans to transition away from producing dirty fossil fuels in favour of clean energy opportunities.

Clearly, this is a company that deserves no investment from the custodians of our money. Yet our banks and super funds continue to prop up Woodside’s climate-wrecking business model.

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AGM dominated by climate concerns

While the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price crash could have been expected to dominate today’s AGM, the vast majority of shareholder questions and concerns related to the next major crisis facing Woodside: climate change.

Woodside plans to expand gas production by a staggering 70% by 2028. Yet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C warming limit requires gas use needs to fall by around 25% by 2030. To say Woodside’s plans are out of line with Paris is understating things in the extreme.

For example, the company’s massive Burrup Hub LNG expansion project would generate emissions equivalent to 35 coal fired power stations operating for the project’s entire proposed 50 year lifetime.

Carbon Tracker analysis shows 30-40% of Woodside’s planned spending out to 2030 would be wasted on stranded assets under the IEA’s Beyond 2 Degrees Scenario. Given that scenario ignores the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal, and relies on unproven carbon capture and storage, the potential risk under a truly Paris-aligned scenario would be even higher.

With the current challenges facing the oil and gas industry, many of Woodside’s growth projects are being revealed as not viable in a low demand scenario. This is exactly what can be expected in a Paris-aligned low carbon transition.

Yet Woodside is refusing to ensure shareholder capital is not wasted on projects that would be unviable under in a 1.5°C warming scenario.

Paris-alignment means winding down

While it’s pleasing to see investors calling on Woodside to align with Paris, there seems to be little understanding or acknowledgment that this would require Woodside to stop expanding its oil and gas production. Instead, it must wind down fossil fuel production in a manner consistent with a 1.5°C warming outcome.

Without a clear plan to conduct and manage this wind down, Woodside does not deserve any further investment support, especially from our super funds, which are required to act in the best interests of its members.

Take action – use the form above to tell your super fund to get your retirement savings out of Woodside and other climate-wrecking companies