Breaking: 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. Read nore about the AGM here.
The current Rio Tinto shareholder engagement
We have engaged with Rio Tinto on lobby group spending, and with the help of over 100 supportive shareholders and 3 institutional co-filers, our resolution will appear 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.
The board of Rio Tinto has 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 Finacial 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 has also 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.'
The Rio Tinto AGM will take place on May 2, 2018. We will share the voting results regarding our resolution when they become available.
What our resolution is 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.
A little more on the ACCR.
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility promotes responsible company behaviour and responsible investment. A company’s negative impacts on the environment and society can also undermine that company’s interests, and the interests of their shareholders. We have been extensively covered by financial media for our highly effective actions. Last year we put a shareholder resolution to BHP which got the company to commit to leaving the World Coal Association and cost Brendan Pearson his job at the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA). This year we are taking on Rio Tinto, and need your support ASAP. In the media section you’ll find links to more of the coverage we got last year. More on what we do can be found on the What we do page.
Why do you need my support to do this?
Under Australian law, a shareholder resolution can only be lodged if it is supported by 100 or more shareholders with voting rights. This makes your support crucial to us. If you are interested in supporting upcoming resolutions please sign up to our shareholder database.
How do I sign up?
Our Resolution in the Media
Responsible Investor Proxy advisors criticised over Rio Tinto climate advice 8/5/18
The Conversation Rio Tinto’s climate change resolution marks a significant shift in investor culture 3/5/18
24 Australia How Even Greenies Like Me Vote Against Climate Change Action 3/5/18
The Australian Financial Review Rio Tinto defends political lobbyists despite Guinea scandal 2/5/18
The Sydney Morning Herald Rio Tinto delivers strong defence of its climate change stance 2/5/18
Mining News Rio goes head to head with shareholders over lobbyists 2/5/18
Mining Journal Rio defends alliances at AGM 2/5/18
The Australian Financial Review Rio Tinto climate resolution tipped to fall short 30/4/18
The Telegraph Rio Tinto faces investor showdown over coal lobby groups 28/4/18
Sydney Morning Herald Super funds put heat on Rio Tinto over lobby groups 25/4/18
The Australian Financial Review Australian Council of Superannuation Investors backs Rio Tinto lobby group review 20/4/18
The Big Smoke Australia BHP sides with climate wreckers, US Chamber of Commerce and Minerals Council of Australia 12/4/18
The Australian Business Review Rio sticks with Minerals Council of Australia despite green activists15/3/18
The Canberra Times Minerals Council goes cold on coal in new energy policy 14/3/18
Chief Investment Officer Church of England Joins Rio Tinto Resolution 12/3/18
The Financial Times Advocacy group says Rio denies UK investor vote on fossil fuel memberships 9/3/18
ABC Radio Rio Tinto facing shareholder revolt over energy policy 3/3/18
AP7 Vad det är roligt att jobba ihop! 3/3/18
The Australian Financial Review Investors challenge Rio Tinto to review Mineral Council of Australia membership 2/3/18
The Guardian Rio Tinto faces $84bn shareholder revolt over membership of Minerals Council 2/3/18
The Sustainability Report ACCR seeking shareholders for resolution at Rio Tinto AGM 9/2/18
Mining.com Rio investors asked to push miner to leave Minerals Council of Australia 6/2/18
The Guardian Rio Tinto investors recruited to force mining giant to quit Minerals Council 6/2/18
The Australian Financial Review Activist ACCR targets Rio Tinto over Minerals Council links 29/1/18
Coal Lobbying in the Media
The Australian MCA Reveals New Energy Policy 14/3/18
The Brisbane Times No one is buying the Minerals Council's coal 'slime' 9/2/18
The Canberra Times Coal industry campaign dwarfs political spending by green groups 2/2/18
The Guardian Miners receive twice as much in tax credits as Australia spends on environment 2/2/18