ACCR engaged with Rio Tinto on lobby group spending, and with the help of over 100 supportive shareholders and 3 institutional co-filers, our resolution appeared on the agenda of the company’s AGM on May 2, 2018. Our co-filers, Australian Local Government Super, the Church of England Pensions Board and the Seventh Swedish National Pension Fund (AP7) represent $84bn in total assets under management.

Our resolution received a record 18.03% vote in favour (over 20% including abstentions) the largest shareholder revolt on climate in Australian corporate history! Read the ASX announcement here.




The board of Rio Tinto decided to only allow our resolution to be heard at the company’s annual general meeting in Melbourne and not in London. Our executive director Brynn O’Brien told the Financial Times that ‘it is puzzling that Rio Tinto would choose to deny UK shareholders the opportunity to express an opinion on an issue with ramifications for the long-term interests of their company.’

The board advised shareholders to vote against our resolution. On this, Brynn told The Australian that the Rio Tinto board’s decision to not support our resolution, nor give adequate commitments ‘will reinforce shareholder concerns that Rio is flat-footed in their response to the damaging activities of coal lobbyists.’


What our resolution was about

Rio Tinto is using shareholders’ money to pay for an expensive membership to the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA). Rio Tinto and the MCA’s positions on climate change and energy policy drift further apart every year. We have now reached a point where the MCA’s lobbying efforts in many ways undermine the interests of Rio Tinto. Put simply, the MCA is lobbying for more coal and use of fossil fuels, and still believe this is the future of energy. Rio Tinto, on the other hand, needs to be a part of Australia’s transition to renewable energy sources. It just doesn’t make sense for Rio Tinto to spend shareholders funds’ on supporting the MCA, who have all their eggs in one basket, when that basket is full of coal.


Our Resolution in the Media

Coal Lobbying in the Media