Today, Business Spectator ran the following piece:

The climate candidate who has BHP sweating

In a battle that will be a proxy for the political brawl in Canberra and elsewhere between business, climate change believers and the Abbott government, BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest miner, has told shareholders to reject a noted climate change activist who has nominated himself for the company’s board.

The activist – former coal company executive Ian Dunlop – has a resume that would cause any mining company here or around the world to consider him, with decades of high-level experience in the industry. But BHP chairman Jacques Nasser and the rest of the board have resorted to the tired canard that Dunlop is a “single-issue” candidate and therefore not suited to the boardroom of BHP.

In the material supporting his nomination, Dunlop said:

“In my view, the greatest challenge the world, and BHP Billiton, now faces is global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human fossil-fuel consumption. The extent and speed of warming has been badly underestimated. Current policies are leading to an average surface temperature increase in excess of 4oC, compared with the ‘official’ target of less than 2oC. This is a world of 1 billion people, not 7 billion, in which business as we know it is not possible. It is nothing less than suicidal to continue investment in fossil-fuel expansion.
“The current board must take action by changing investment priorities far more extensively than the company has recently announced. I consider that my particular mix of experience and global perspective would complement existing board member skills in achieving what must become top priorities for BHP Billiton and its shareholders.’”
I recently heard Dunlop address the ATSE Nuclear Energy for Australia? conference, and I was very impressed. But who makes this decision? Not me, surely.
No… but one party that will is my representative superannuation fund, VicSuper. It is likely that nearly all of us are invested in BHP through our super funds. Here’s myTwitter interaction with VicSuper:
It’s not much good bemoaning our lack of power in such matters, if we fail to exercise the power we have. Nor is it acceptable for so many of us to profit from BHP, whether we really know it or not, without pitching in to this important decision.
So, you have a couple of months. The AGM is on 21st November. Is there a more important thing you could between now and then for climate change? Probably not. This global giant is heavily invested in both the dirtiest fuel source… and the cleanest. Do future generations a favour. Let your super fund know that BAU for BHP is not the investment future you support, and let’s elect a board member with his eye on a clean energy future.
Like what you see here? Please subscribe to the blog, Like Decarbonise SA on Facebook and follow BenThinkClimate on Twitter. Read more about the potential for nuclear power in Australia at Zero Carbon Options


  1. My portfolio of BHP shares is not large (in fact zero) so I can’t have any direct leverage. However I distinctly recall outgoing CEO Marius Kloppers saying that carbon tax was inevitable. Maybe that’s why he’s going. An obscure BHP connection was a pronuclear article written by someone who holds the BHPB Chair of energy policy at University College, London
    A third connection is an ex Roxby Downs employee who told me the view was only nukes could power the 650 MW expansion of Olympic Dam. Recall the official plan was for a 250 MW onsite gas fired generator and the rest from the SA grid. That plan of course came to nothing.

    I wonder if BHPB’s unwritten agenda is to flog coal until it gets too difficult. China is taking both BHP iron ore and coking coal to build its steel framed ghost cities. When that stops they’ll want uranium for their planned 60 GW or whatever of Gen 3 nuclear. Note that China already extracts some uranium from OD copper concentrate sent from Darwin to Guandong. The yellowcake goes via Adelaide currently less than 5 kt a year but could increase to 19 kt if OD goes full bore.

    Having said that I’ll see what holding my super fund holds in BHPB and suggest they vote for Dunlop.

  2. I’ve sent this customer email to Perpetual
    I see that Perpetual have a substantial shareholding in BHP Billiton Ltd. I am impressed by the credentials and forward vision of Mr Ian Dunlop who is standing for election to that company’s board.
    Can you please advise me whether Perpetual intends to vote for Mr Dunlop? If not I’d like to know the reasons.
    John Newlands

    I’m not expecting anything but a cursory response.

      1. Hi what about Bluescope? who will vote For the environment at their AGE 14 November?


        Decarbonise SA wrote:

        > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ Decarbonise SA commented: “That’s wonderful!”

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