Media Release: BHP’s new approach to industry associations calls into question membership of NSW Minerals Council
Activist organisation 350.org Australia is calling for BHP to demonstrate its commitment to its updated approach to climate lobbying, announced today, by withdrawing membership of the NSW Minerals Council.
Facing investor pressure over climate lobbying, on Friday BHP released new guidance and Global Policy Principles regarding its approach to the advocacy undertaken by its industry associations. These contain a number of changes to BHP’s approach, including requiring lobbying groups to:
- Advocate for Paris Agreement-aligned emissions reduction targets
- Not advocate for energy policies that support fossil fuels over renewable energy
- Avoid advocating for Kyoto carryover credits
BHP has further pledged to “disclose in ‘real time’ if we determine that one of our material association memberships has materially departed from our Global Climate Policy Standards.”
According to 350.org, the NSW Minerals Council has clearly and consistently undermined the Paris Agreement, including since BHP concluded their review of the lobby group in April 2020 and decided to remain a member despite concerns over climate lobbying. 350.org notes that the lobby group had at least 5 meetings with NSW government ministers ahead of the NSW Government releasing its “Strategic Statement on Coal Exploration and Mining in NSW” on June 24th. This statement declares that NSW coal production will continue for decades into the future, and a whole of government approach to supporting the industry will be adopted.
Shortly after this announcement the NSW Minerals Council launched a report identifying 21 coal mines for fast track approval as their main solution for economic recovery.
The NSW Minerals Council has further undermined BHP’s Global Policy Standards by advocating against national climate policy in the media. On June 25th Stephen Galilee appeared on Sky News and commented, “Labor would be seeking a range of [emissions reduction] policies that were uncosted and were potentially going to cost billions and billions of dollars to our economy and to consumers of energy.”
According to 350.org Australia Campaign Director Kelly Albion, “Once again BHP has released principles on paper to avoid responsibility for what its lobby groups are doing in practice.
“The NSW Minerals Council is one of the worst pro-coal, anti-climate action lobby groups in the world, and given BHP’s new approach outlined today, it is impossible to understand how the company can justify continued membership.
“At a time when the Government is making choices about our economic recovery, it is more critical than ever that industry groups are held to account for their pro-gas and pro-coal advocacy.
“You don’t solve one crisis by fuelling another, and if BHP doesn’t act now to ensure its industry associations are advocating for policies in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, it is demonstrating that its principles are nothing more than hot air.”
Meetings between the NSW Minerals Council and NSW Ministers between April – June 2020:
16/04/2020: Industry issues and the impact from COVID-19
- Deputy Premier, and Minister for Regional New South Wales, Industry and Trade, NSW Minerals Council
- Minister for Energy and Environment, NSW Minerals Council
07/04/2020: Discuss Independent Planning Commission reform
- Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, NSW Minerals Council
05/05/2020: Minerals Advisory Council Meeting
- Deputy Premier, and Minister for Regional New South Wales, Industry and Trade Alkane Resources Ltd, Centennial Coal, Glencore Coal, Hetherington, NSW Minerals Council, NSW Minerals Industry, Regis Resources, The Australian Workers’ Union, Whitehaven Coal, Yancoal Australia Ltd, CFMEU Northern Mining & NSW Energy
24/06/2020: Local industry discussion
- Deputy Premier, and Minister for Regional New South Wales, Industry and Trade, NSW Minerals Council, Singleton Council
Background on the Paris Agreement and coal production
The UNEP Production Gap report finds that in order to reach the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement, a majority of the world’s coal must stay in the ground. Advocacy to increase NSW coal production does not align with the Paris Climate Agreement.
For further information and interviews:
Campaigns Director, 350.org Australia
0422 636 775