23 October 2018
“Can the board confirm that it has completely ruled out working with Adani on the Carmichael coal mine and its supportive infrastructure like the North Galilee Basin Rail Line and the Abbot Point coal terminal that will transport coal from the mine?” asked a shareholder at the WorleyParsons annual general meeting today in Sydney.
While the board confirmed that the global engineering giant is not currently working with Adani, they wouldn’t commit to ruling out any future relationship. WorleyParsons was previously in a joint venture with AECOM to design and support delivery of the planned Carmichael rail line.
Paris climate accord is a matter for governments, not companies
Another shareholder was keen to pin down the board on the specifics of WorleyParsons’ newly established climate change working group and position statement on climate change. “It isn’t clear whether our company supports the Paris climate change agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2ºC. Does the board support this goal and agreement which has now been ratified by 179 countries?”
“The board is supportive of the Paris climate change agreement – I don’t think it’s a role of the board,” chairman John Grill replied. “We work with that but it’s the government’s role to say countries we are working in are compliant with it. Some countries we are working in are saying we are compliant in it, and others are not.”
As a resources and energy consultant to some of the world’s most polluting companies – including those operating in tar sands, open cut coal mines, oil and gas – to operate within a 2ºC world, WorleyParsons would need to phase out working with many of its fossil fuel clients. Recent reports show that coal in particular needs to be phased out by 2050.
With the latest International Panel for Climate Change report arguing for even lower limits to fight runaway climate change, it’s unsurprising that shareholders are also asking if WorleyParsons operates in a manner consistent with a global warming scenario of 1.5ºC.
A shareholder asked if Worley Parsons is operating its business strategy to a particular energy outlook – if so which one.
“We look at many scenarios from many sources.” The board responded not disclosing which energy outlook the company aligns itself to.