Glencore must step up after shareholder dissent to Climate Progress Report
With Glencore due to report back to shareholders following its AGM - where 24% of shareholders voted against its 2021 Climate Progress Report, the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) has released a letter to Glencore with five recommendations that would go towards addressing shareholder concerns.
Glencore is the largest producer of thermal coal in Australia, which is the second largest coal exporting nation in the world.
Glencore is required within six months of the AGM to publish an update on the views received from shareholders and actions taken under the UK Corporate Governance Code*.
ACCR has outlined key concerns with Glencore's pursuit of new and expanded thermal coal mines in Australia, which is in stark contrast to the Company’s stated commitment to emissions reductions in line with net zero and 1.5C. Satellite data has also demonstrated that Glencore’s Australian coal mines are potentially underreporting fugitive methane emissions.
The Company has come under scrutiny recently due to revelations Glencore is progressing plans with the Australian government to open up a new greenfield coal mine, which counters the Company's previous commitments to shareholders to 'run down' the existing coal portfolio.
Investor pressure on Glencore continues to increase on several fronts including Bluebell Capital Partners releasing a statement and proposal.
Naomi Hogan, ACCR Strategic Projects Lead said:
“Six weeks ago Glencore received a clear message from almost a quarter of its shareholders: fix your climate plan and your approach to coal.
“There is currently a disconnect between Glencore’s statements on coal and climate change and the activities of its coal subsidiaries in Australia.
“Now is not the time for double speak and confusion around Glencore’s forward coal portfolio.
“In Australia, Glencore is advocating for large new and expanding thermal coal projects well into the 2040s and beyond.
“Glencore is pushing ahead with several expansion plans, two potential new greenfield coal mines and seeking more coal exploration licences.
“Investors clearly share ACCR’s concerns about the Company’s coal expansion plans. To better assess the risk, more granular disclosures are required from Glencore on its coal production projections.
“Glencore is in the enviable position of having a diverse portfolio and a huge amount to gain from properly addressing the climate change challenge.
“Glencore’s shareholders have been asking critical questions of the company and providing input to help shape the next iteration of the Climate Plan. Investors must see tangible changes to Glencore’s Climate Plan and approach to new and expanding coal.”
The UK Corporate Governance Code states: “When 20 per cent or more of votes have been cast against the board recommendation for a resolution, the company should explain, when announcing voting results, what actions it intends to take to consult shareholders in order to understand the reasons behind the result. An update on the views received from shareholders and actions taken should be published no later than six months after the shareholder meeting.”
The Investment Association maintains a Public Register tracking shareholder dissent at publicly listed companies, and includes Glencore’s Climate Progress Report vote.
ACCR set out the following five recommendations for Glencore to provide to its shareholders:
- A clear inventory of all Glencore’s coal projects and expected annual production, demonstrating an alignment of production decline over time with net zero.
- A projection of expected emissions from fossil fuel extraction from now until 2050.
- A 2030 emissions reduction target to provide further assurance that emissions from coal production will not expand between 2026 and 2035.
- Coal mine methane emissions totals for all sites that are quantified using available best practice technologies, such as satellite, aerial and on ground methane surveys.
- An increase in capital expenditure allocated to reducing operational emissions.
Read the full letter to Glencore.