During a phone conversation with Rio’s new chair and the co-filers last night (8 March), it was confirmed that Rio will not allow the resolution to be heard at the UK AGM.
This was also mentioned at an IIGCC briefing for Rio investors on 7 March which was attended by Adam Matthews (Church of England).
Here are fresh quotes from the co-filers, ACCR and Client Earth that you may use.
Adam Matthews, Head of Engagement for the Church OF England Pensions Board said:
“When we co-filed at Rio Tinto Limited we made a request that in accordance with Rio’s previous practice that the shareholder resolution could also be heard at the PLC in London. It is very disappointing that at present the Company have said they will not allow this. This is a global issue and needs to be addressed beyond Australia. We remain hopeful that Rio’s new Chair will grasp the opportunity to put in place Board level governance around industry associations and lobbying groups, financially supported by Rio Tinto. Our concern remains that too many of these organisations take contrary lobbying positions to the company’s own clear and welcome support of the Paris Agreement”.
Contact: Mark Arena | +44 794 993 3714 | Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Hartnett, Head of Sustainability, Local Government Super said: “It is disappointing to hear that Rio Tinto’s board is considering only allowing this shareholder resolution to be voted upon at the Rio Tinto Ltd Australian AGM and not the Rio Tinto Plc. UK AGM. We are noticing a groundswell of interest in this shareholder resolution from all of Rio’s shareholders as it simply asking Rio to put in place appropriate governance framework to ensure that its own leadership ambitions in regards climate change are not inadvertently undermined by the lobby groups it funds. It is extremely important that all investors in Rio, not just those limited to the Australian company, be allowed to vote on this issue so that the Rio board can fully understand the extent of investor concern on this issue. Rio Tinto is a global company and climate change lobbying is global problem, not just isolated to Australia. It has a profound influence on policy making”.
Contact: Jasmine Chen +612 9018 email@example.com
Sophie Marjanac, Lawyer at ClientEarth said: “Two years ago at its London AGM, Rio Tinto’s chair said that a climate-related resolution was being included on the ballot at the Australian Ltd entity because the company believed in treating all its shareholders equally – does the company not think this is important anymore? Ironically, although Australian shareholders enjoy more limited rights to propose resolutions, UK shareholders are now being denied the chance to vote on this essential issue”.
Contact: Jon Bennett | +44 303 050 5935 | JBennett@clientearth.org
Brynn O’Brien, Executive Director of ACCR said: “In a dual listed structure, it is best practice to present issues two the whole company. 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.
We would caution Rio Tinto against framing this a local issue that is only relevant to Australia, or to shareholders in the Australian entity. Climate change is a global issue and lobbying that obstructs climate policy is a serious risk to investors everywhere. European shareholders are right to be concerned.
As it stands, Rio Tinto is one of the major funders of an organisation that actively undermines its interests. This is of interest to shareholders in both the Plc and the Limited, and it is artificial to pretend otherwise”.
Contact: Brynn O’Brien | +61 423 951 316 | firstname.lastname@example.org