Last year ACCR filed a resolution to Rio Tinto on the advocacy of its lobby groups on climate policy. 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% proxy vote in favour (over 20% including abstentions) the largest shareholder revolt on climate in Australian corporate history at the time. We have since followed up our work on lobbying with another landmark resolution at Origin Energy which received a 46.32% proxy vote in favour, the largest vote for any shareholder proposal (without Board support) in Australian corporate history.
One year on from our previous resolution, Rio Tinto remains a member of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), at a cost to shareholders of US$1.4 million per annum. Rio Tinto and the MCA’s positions on climate change and energy policy continue to drift further apart, while the MCA’s lobbying efforts in many ways undermining the interests of Rio Tinto. Put simply, the MCA seeks to prolong the use of thermal coal for as long as possible.Rio Tinto, on the other hand, has divested itself of its coal portfolio, and its CEO has called for a price on carbon.
ACCR filed a follow-up resolution, calling on Rio Tinto to discontinue the use of shareholder funds to fund the Minerals Council of Australia.
Thank you to each of our supportive shareholders for getting this resolution over the line.
After several months of engagement with Rio about the advocacy of its industry associations on climate policy, we filed our resolution as planned, which resulted in a round of focused negotiations with senior executives. Following these negotiations, Rio made a commitment to set tighter expectations of its industry associations. As a result, ACCR withdrew the resolution for consideration at Rio’s upcoming AGM in May.
Rio Tinto’s Committments