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BP shareholders greenlight investor-led resolution to broaden climate reporting

Shareholders at oil major BP PLC overwhelmingly approved an investor-backed resolution on May 21 to broaden the way the company reports its greenhouse gas emissions and climate goals.

The resolution, proposed by activist investor group Climate Action 100+, received more than 99% of the votes at the company's annual general meeting.

BP's shareholders rejected a separate resolution from Netherlands-based activist investor group Follow This for the company to set medium- and long-term targets to include Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 3 emissions include upstream and downstream emissions.

In the days leading up to the meeting, protesters assembled outside BP's headquarters in London, according to Reuters. Protesters also gathered May 21 at the meeting location in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Like many of its peers, BP has come under pressure from investor activist groups to reduce emissions. In April, BP's board of directors urged shareholders to vote in favor of the resolution from Climate Action 100+ but said it did not support the Follow This resolution.

Follow This filed a similar resolution calling for stricter targets on limiting emissions at Norwegian state-controlled Equinor ASA. Equinor's shareholders rejected the resolution May 15.

In April, Follow This said it would withdraw the same climate resolution at Royal Dutch Shell PLC after the company set a short-term goal in March of reducing its emissions by 2% to 3% through 2021 from 2016 levels. The reduction will occur directly from Shell's operations and energy products. Shell also held its annual general meeting May 21.

In late 2018, Shell announced that it would link its performance on its emissions reductions targets to executive pay. Additionally, Shell ended its membership in the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers trade association over differences on climate change issues. Shell also pledged to invest $300 million in natural ecosystems for the next three years to reduce its net carbon footprint.

Shell and BP will each contribute $1 million to Americans for Carbon Dividends, the advocacy arm of the Climate Leadership Council, a group urging the Congress to pass a federal carbon tax, a spokesperson confirmed to S&P Global Market Intelligence on May 20. The bipartisan group proposes a gradually increasing carbon tax that would start at $40/ton and would be implemented at the first point where fossil fuels enter the economy. The money collected would be given to taxpayers via quarterly payments.