BHP backs green ethic

BHP Billiton chief Andrew Mackenzie has defended the company's environmental credentials in the face of criticism from a former chairman of the Australian Coal Association.

BHP Billiton chief Andrew Mackenzie has defended the company's environmental credentials in the face of criticism from a former chairman of the Australian Coal Association.

Ian Dunlop, now an environmental campaigner, is standing for election to the company's board, claiming BHP does not understand the threat posed by climate change.

"Climate change is relevant to us all," Mr Mackenzie said on Thursday at the company's annual meeting in London.

"As a significant user of energy, we are working to drive down our greenhouse gas intensity and we are seeing results."

Mr Mackenzie, addressing his first annual meeting as chief executive after replacing Marius Kloppers earlier this year, insisted "we are environmentally responsible".

The Australian AGM will be held in November in Perth. The company is urging shareholders to vote against Mr Dunlop's bid.

BHP's net profit fell by 30 per cent in the 2012-13 financial year to $US10.9 billion ($12.03 billion). Weaker commodity prices were the main cause and the company is slashing costs and capital expenditure in response.

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