BHP

InfluenceMap Score
D
Performance Band
49%
Organisation Score
46%
Relationship Score
Modifications to InfluenceMap Scoring
Sector:
Materials
Head​quarters:
Melbourne, Australia

Climate Lobbying Overview: BHP has consistently communicated top-line support for action on climate change between 2019-2021. At a more detailed level, however, BHP appears to have lobbied to undermine and weaken ambitious climate policy, including greenhouse gas emissions regulations, and continues to support a sustained role for fossil fuels in the energy mix. At the same time, the company remains a member of many highly oppositional trade groups, including the Minerals Council of Australia.

Top-line Messaging about Climate Policy: BHP appears broadly supportive of ambitious climate action in its top-line messaging. In its latest Annual Report, published in September 2020, the company appeared to support emissions reductions in line with 1.5°C, calling it an “attractive scenario for BHP, our shareholders and the global community”. In the same report, BHP called for increased levels of national and global ambition to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. In its Global Climate Policy Standards, released in August 2020, BHP also appeared to retract its previous support for the use of Kyoto carryover credits, which can be used to weaken Australia’s climate ambition under the Paris Agreement.

However, BHP’s comments on the need for government regulation to respond to climate change suggests a less positive stance. In its 2020 Annual Report, BHP qualified its support for a “complementary set of measures” to address climate change, by stating that they should not affect trade competitiveness and should achieve “lowest cost abatement”. This position echoes BHP’s position in previous engagements on climate policy. In a submission to the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia (WA EPA) in September 2019, BHP argued that “Government intervention should be limited to where required to address demonstrated market failure." This position was reiterated in BHP’s Industry Association Review in December 2019.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: InfluenceMap has found no evidence of engagement with specific climate policies in 2021. There have been some examples of positive positions on climate policy by BHP in 2020, without reference to specific items of regulation. In its 2020 CDP response, BHP appeared to support energy efficiency measures as part of an effective policy framework. In its 2020 Annual Report, BHP appeared to support the development of emissions trading policies to reduce global GHG emissions via the generation of carbon credits.

However, BHP has previously lobbied negatively on GHG emissions standards in Australia. In a September 2019 consultation response, BHP did not appear to support the WA EPA’s greenhouse gas assessment guidance, cautioning that state-based policy should align with weaker national emissions reduction targets, and arguing the guidance should be flexible rather than prescriptive. In an April 2018 consultation response, the company advocated to weaken Australia’s federal Safeguard Mechanism through supporting production-based, annually updated emissions baselines, which would reduce overall emissions reduction under the mechanism. However, BHP appeared to state support for national emissions reduction targets in its 2020 Global Climate Policy Standards.

BHP has also lobbied against legislation to support the growth of renewable energy in Australia. In March 2018, BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie opposed renewable energy subsidies in Australia. In response to the Finkel Review in March 2017, BHP advocated for a repeal of state-based Australian renewables targets. In 2020, while BHP has not lobbied positively on renewable energy policies, its Global Climate Standards Policy specified that its lobby groups should not advocate against policies regarding the deployment of renewable energy.

Positioning on Energy Transition: BHP appears to support a continued role for fossil fuels despite top-line support for the energy transition. In its 2020 Global Climate Policy Standards, BHP stated support for policies that ‘aim to support the development and deployment of pre-commercial low emissions technologies’. On its social media in 2021, BHP has also consistently supported the transition to a low-carbon economy and electrification of transport. However, this support appears to be on the condition that policies are technology and commodity neutral. At the 2019 Financial Times Climate for Change conference, CEO Mike Henry appeared to criticize electrification and renewables using arguments about full-cycle carbon footprints in support of a technology-neutral ‘all of the above’ approach.

BHP appears to support a significant and continued role for fossil fuels in the energy mix going forward. In May 2021, BHP CEO Mike Henry advocated a role for coking coal in the energy mix for decades. In May 2021, Henry also supported a continued role for oil and gas on the pathway to decarbonization. In April 2021, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that BHP directly advocated the Australian federal government to retain the existing fuel tax credit system, which acts as a fossil fuel subsidy.

Industry Association Governance: BHP has disclosed annual reviews and updates of its industry association memberships since 2017. The first review concluded there were material differences between its position on climate and the World Coal Association, resulting in BHP quitting the group in April 2018. However, while BHP also found material differences with highly oppositional lobby groups, including US Chamber of Commerce and Minerals Council of Australia, it has elected to retain its memberships and directly engage these groups on their climate and energy policy positions. BHP’s 2020 review also outlined detailed actions to be taken at four ‘partly aligned’ associations: American Petroleum Institute, Mining Association of Canada, NSW Minerals Council, and US Chamber of Commerce. However, BHP retains membership to these organizations as well as other highly oppositional groups including Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Australian Industry Greenhouse Network, Minerals Council of Australia).

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
Main Web Site Social Media CDP Responses Legislative Consultations Media Reports CEO Messaging Financial Disclosures
Communication of Climate Science
2 1 NA 2 1 2 2
Alignment with IPCC on Climate Action
1 1 NA -1 2 1 0
Supporting the Need for Regulations
0 2 NA -1 NS NS NS
Support of UN Climate Process
2 1 NS 1 1 2 2
Transparency on Legislation
0 NA 1 NA NA NA NS
Carbon Tax
0 NS 0 -2 -2 0 NS
Emissions Trading
1 NS 0 NS 1 NS 1
Energy and Resource Efficiency
NS NS 1 -1 NS NS NS
Renewable Energy
NS NS NS -2 -2 -2 NS
Energy Transition & Zero Carbon Technologies
0 1 -1 -1 -1 0 -1
GHG Emission Regulation
1 1 0 -1 -1 0 NS
Disclosure on Relationships
1 NS 1 NA NA NA NS
Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
51%
 
51%
 
40%
 
40%
 
40%
 
40%
 
52%
 
52%
 
67%
 
67%
 
47%
 
47%
 
30%
 
30%
 
67%
 
67%
 
34%
 
34%
 
75%
 
75%
 
46%
 
46%
 
47%
 
47%
 
28%
 
28%
 
41%
 
41%
 
26%
 
26%
 
31%
 
31%
 
23%
 
23%
 
64%
 
64%
 
34%
 
34%
 
39%
 
39%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.