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BP adjusts strategy after investor criticism

“This feels very good and shows that we can make a difference when we work with others,” says Christina Strand Wadsjö, sustainability expert in SEB’s fund company SEB Investment Management.

In a press release BP explained that they will support the call from the Climate Action 100+ initiative, which SEB is part of. BP has thereby committed itself to reporting how it is aligning its strategy with the goals of the Paris Agreement. They will also be more open on matters concerning the company’s emissions targets and performance, among other things.

“It’s great to see a conglomerate like BP change its behaviour after the dialogues that we and the investor group have had with them. SEB is a large player in Sweden and can achieve a lot through its own dialogues, and through our partnership with the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), we are helping to make a difference even when it comes to major global actors,” says Christina Strand Wadsjö.

In 2017 SEB sent out a questionnaire to 3,000 customers who save in the one of the bank’s sustainability funds and asked them which of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals they thought was most important. The majority answered that Climate Action was most important.

“We therefore chose to initiate collaboration with IIGCC, an investor group that is urging the 161 companies that account for the greatest emissions globally – such as in the gas and oil industry – to be more sustainable,” notes Christina.

In autumn 2018 SEB asked the same question of 250,000 savers in most of the bank’s equity and mixed funds and got the same answer – prioritise Climate Action.

“Together with IIGCC we have truly been able to exert pressure on and influence companies like BP and others that have high emissions,” Christina continues. “Another example is the Danish oil and shipping company AP Møller-Mærsk, which now say that their intention is to be CO2 neutral by 2050. The cobalt producer Glencore and the mining company Rio Tinto have also announced that they will be reducing their emissions.

“Without collaboration we are just a small player, but by working together with others we can help companies embrace sustainability and think long-term instead of focusing on short-term profitability.”