BP Update: Investors to protest against BP’s Deepwater response at AGM

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  • BP Update: Investors to protest against BP’s Deepwater response at AGM

Responsible Investor reports reports that a group of institutional investors from the US and Europe plan to attend the oil corporation BP’s AGM in London next week and, as a united entity, vote down the company’s Annual Report & Accounts. The coalition, led by US religious fund Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), states that it has decided to take this action due to the corporation’s lack of response to the Gulf of Mexico spill, which occurred almost a year ago on April 20th, 2010.

The coalition is requesting that BP do more to provide investors with information, calling on the corporation to produce within 6 months a report clearly demonstrating that it has been working to implement the recommendations made in its Deepwater Horizon Accident Investigation Report, improve risk assessment practices, and establish better board oversight. The group is also calling for independent board oversight and information on BP’s announced plans to “go green”.

Recently, RI reported that shareholder voting advisory and proxy firms, such as Glass Lewis, ISS, and PIRC, were also recommending their clients vote against BP’s reports and accounts, specifically advising clients to vote against the corporation’s remuneration report as well as the re-election of particular directors on the Safety, Ethics, and Environmental Assurance Committee.

The public’s response to BP and the Deepwater Horizon disaster has been varied. In the months following the Gulf of Mexico Spill last year, several US pension funds, including the New York State Common Retirement Fund, announced intentions to launch lawsuits against BP. The U.S. government also mounted a White House oil spill commission on the disaster, the resulting report condemning BP and fellow oil corporations for an industry-wide systemic failure to properly assess operational risks. However, previous shareholder action against BP was either scarce or unsuccessful; just two short months following the disaster, over 94% of BP investors were reported by Global Pensions to have no intentions to sue BP for investment losses incurred from the spill, and a planned shareholder resolution requesting that BP assess the risks of its operations ultimately did not come to fruition.

The latest developments, however, suggest a swell in shareholder action against BP, both on executive compensation as well as safety mechanisms and risk assessment.

The BP AGM will be taking place in London, UK on April the 14th, 2011.

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