The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) has welcomed the support of the board of Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) for its shareholder resolution calling for improvement to its annual review of industry associations and suspension of membership of groups found to be lobbying against climate action.
Commenting on the resolution, Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment at ACCR, said:
“For the first time, the board of an Australian company has supported a shareholder resolution. Rio Tinto should be commended for this.
“The board of Rio Tinto, already under significant pressure from shareholders, has finally acknowledged that its funding of Australia’s climate stalemate goes against its own long-term interests.
“Groups including the Minerals Council of Australia, the Queensland Resources Council and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, should see this as a clear warning: lobby in support of the Paris Agreement or they will lose one of their largest members.
“Rio Tinto’s latest review, published just last month, failed to identify any misalignment with its Australian industry associations, despite the Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC) advertising campaign during the Queensland state election last year, and its support for the Morrison government’s ‘gas-fired recovery’.
“Yet Rio Tinto has steadfastly refused to comment on this advocacy, or attempted to rein it in.
“UK think tank InfluenceMap ranked Rio Tinto the third worst company in Australia for its lobbying against climate and energy policy. Meanwhile, Rio Tinto’s review shows the company would like its shareholders to believe that there is nothing to worry about.
“Last year BHP and Origin Energy suspended their membership of the QRC because of its brazen attempt to influence Australian democracy, and it is time for Rio Tinto to do the same.
“Rio Tinto should no longer support industry associations opposing climate action.”