Media release

“Extremely welcome”: Rio Tinto commits to enhancing its advocacy for effective climate policy

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR)  is commenting upon Rio Tinto’s commitment to enhance its approach to climate advocacy by disclosing the policy settings it needs to meet its 2030 climate target of 50% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Commenting on Rio Tinto’s commitment, Harriet Kater, Company Strategy Lead at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“This commitment to positive climate advocacy from Rio Tinto is extremely welcome.

“For there to be any chance of us limiting warming in line with the Paris Agreement, we need industries that have a future in a zero carbon economy to be advocating for policies that are consistent with the most recent science. This is in sharp contrast to the blight of negative industry lobbying that continues to subvert and delay policy settings that would enable rapid and orderly decarbonisation.

“Industrial-scale decarbonisation is an enormous challenge. Companies can show leadership by clearly signaling where government interventions can assist in addressing genuine barriers in order to expedite the decarbonisation of their assets and value chains.

“The more effective policy we have, the less companies will need to fall back on sub-standard alternatives like carbon offsets for meeting their emissions targets.

“This need was recognised by the United Nations High Level Expert Group in its recommendations on credible net zero commitments, which stated that companies ‘should outline the specific policies and regulations, including carbon pricing, that they would need to cut emissions in line with a 1.5°C scenario.’

“Much of the anxiety in the Safeguard Mechanism negotiations stemmed from the perceived slow pace at which industries like alumina and aluminum can decarbonise. If there had been more prior positive advocacy for a range of enabling, innovative policies that help to unlock step changes in the decarbonisation of such industries, this would have laid the foundation for a more ambitious safeguard policy.

“Of course, whilst this commitment is a positive step, the proof will be in the pudding and ACCR will continue to engage with Rio Tinto and monitor its statements and actions.

“ACCR encourages other diversified miners, including BHP, to step up and make similar commitments. Since 2020 BHP has stated that a 1.5°C pathway is the best outcome for shareholder value - yet in 2022 it refused to support a shareholder resolution filed by ACCR calling for positive advocacy to enhance the probability of that outcome. This was a missed opportunity for BHP to walk its talk through genuine climate leadership."

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