Ian Dunlop

Former fossil fueller turned climate activist Ian Dunlop will again attempt to gain a seat on the BHP Billiton board after failing in his bid last year.

Mr Dunlop, formerly with Shell and the Australian Coal Association and now Safe Climate Australia chair, said that climate change was happening fast and BHPB needed to adapt.

“The unavoidable transition to [a] low-carbon society will happen faster than currently anticipated, posing serious risks, but opening up unprecedented shareholder value creation opportunities for companies like BHPB, provided the need for rapid transformation is recognised in time,” Mr Dunlop said.

“BHPB accepts the IPCC science as a basis for action, but the IPCC is inherently conservative and subject to political oversight. Prudent risk management must go beyond this conservative view and recognise the need for far more rapid action given increasing evidence of irreversible climate change taking hold.

“Given the extensive climate change knowledge now available, the fiduciary obligations of directors require this broader approach to risk management.

“Accordingly the Board must re-orientate BHPB to focus on the opportunities of the 21st Century low-carbon world, rather than continuing to advocate enhanced incremental change to 20th Century high-carbon business models.”

Mr Dunlop said the current board needed to enhance its skill set to meet the climate change challenge.

Last year, however, BHP chairman Jac Nasser urged shareholders to vote against Mr Dunlop’s nomination as he believed the company had an appropriate climate change strategy.

“I can assure you that the company and the board consider climate change to be one of the most important strategic issues, and this has been the case for some time,” Mr Nasser said in a speech to shareholders.

“Our diversified commodity portfolio strategy was shaped to reduce volatility and mitigate macro risks, such as climate change.”

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