BP's board recommended that shareholders vote against a climate activist resolution asking for more emissions cuts by 2030 at its April 27 shareholder meeting.
Activist group Follow This said in December it had co-filed resolutions with six major institutional investors managing $1.3 trillion in assets ahead of the annual general meetings of BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Shell.
Follow This wants the companies to commit to absolute emissions cuts by 2030 in line with the Paris climate deal, including emissions from the combustion of the fuels they sell, known as Scope 3 emissions.
BP called the Follow This resolution "unclear", "simplistic" and "disruptive" and said it encroached on the board's responsibility to set the firm's strategy.
Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, to have any hope of meeting Paris Agreement goal of keeping warming well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
BP rowed back on plans to slash oil and gas output and emissions last month. It now aims to produce 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2030, down just 25 per cent from 2019 levels compared with previous plans for a 40 per cent cut.
As a result, BP reduced its ambitions to cut emissions from fuels sold to customers to 20 per cent-30 per cent by 2030, from 35 per cent-40 per cent.
"BP’s reversal was a wake-up call for institutional investors, asset managers and pension funds," said Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This.
"Paris-aligned voting has to regain momentum in 2023."
Last year, shareholder support for Follow This' resolution fell to around 15 per cent of BP shareholders from around 21 per cent the previous year.
Two of the UK's largest pension schemes will vote against the renewal of top directors at BP and Shell unless both companies strengthen commitments to tackling carbon emissions, the Financial Times reported.
The Follow This resolution needs 75 per cent of votes to pass. BP said its board did not consider the activist resolution to be in the company's or its shareholders' best interests. -Reuters