On 15 April 2010, just 5 days before BP’s infamous Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred, the recently appointed chairman of the British oil major made remarks about the importance of long-termism at his inaugural AGM.
Carl-Henric Svanberg, now at Volvo, told shareholders that BP required a board “with a long-term perspective because the energy industry, by its nature, works to long-time horizons”.
BP’s board appetite for long-termism was tested that very same day, with a climate shareholder resolution on tar sands filed by FairPensions (now ShareAction) and the Co-operative Asset Management.
The majority of shareholders, 93.79%, sided with the board and voted against. Nonetheless, some green shoots of dissent emerged as 6.21% backed the proposal and 9.2% abstained.
BP’s spill proved just 5 days later that the oil major was far from walking the talk on long-termism. Its broader shareholder base, however, was not entirely exempt from blame.…