May 22, 2019

BP agrees to weigh lobbying group ties

Protestors in London. Photo: Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images

BP, under pressure over climate change, is the latest oil giant to agree to review its membership in trade associations.

Why it matters: Activist investors are increasingly pushing fossil fuel producers to abandon lobbying groups that oppose policies like mandatory emissions curbs and carbon pricing.

  • Among oil majors, BP joins Equinor, which plans to release results of its review by Q1 2020. Shell has already completed its assessment.

Where it stands: Chairman Helge Lund announced the move at BP's annual meeting Tuesday. A spokesperson did not provide specific memberships that will be assessed, but said the review will be informed by this existing position statement on trade groups.

The big question: Will K Street lobbying powerhouses spring a leak, or alter their stances, if Big Oil companies threaten to bail over differences on climate?

  • This hasn't happened yet.
  • Shell reviewed a suite of memberships and said in early April that it's leaving one group: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers.
  • But, it's sticking with more powerful players including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Petroleum Institute.

What's next: Activists investors will be watching. Climate Action 100+ said they will be looking to "ensure BP’s lobbying activity supports the Paris goals."

Go deeper: BP bosses get public grilling on climate from largest investors (Bloomberg)

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