CalPERS goes into bat for ‘Aiming for A’ climate change reporting resolution at Rio Tinto

California pension giant writes to fellow investors ahead of mining company AGM

The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the US with approximately $290bn (€254bn) in assets, has written to fellow shareholders in Rio Tinto to muster support for the ‘Aiming for A’ climate change reporting resolution at the mining giant later this month.

CalPERS is co-filer of the resolution and is part of a coalition assembled by UK fund manager CCLA. They want Rio Tinto to make further disclosures about strategic resilience out to 2035 and beyond, with the company having declared its support for the measure. Similar proposals went through last year with near unanimous shareholder support at BP, Shell and Statoil.

The coalition includes the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and the largest members of the Church Investors Group, together with Hermes Investment Management on behalf of stewardship services clients, Sarasin & Partners, Pensions Trust and Rathbone Greenbank Investments.

The ‘Aiming for A’ coalition (named after environmental data body the CDP’s highest band) has also filed similar resolutions at Rio Tinto’s peers Glencore and Anglo American. The climate reporting proposal (Resolution 17 on the ballot) takes the form of a special resolution which requires at least three-quarters of the votes cast to be in favour. It goes to the vote on April 14.CalPERS, which holds around 250,000 shares in in Rio Tinto, says the resolution is “of particular importance” in light of the global consensus on climate change and emission reductions shown by the Paris Agreement and the Financial Stability Board’s work on climate-related financial risk disclosures.

Resolution important in light of COP21 and FSB climate taskforce

“We believe effective management of environmental factors, including those related to climate change risk increase the likelihood that companies will perform well over the long-term,” writes Anne Simpson, Director of CalPERS Global Governance.

In the letter, filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, she says queries should be directed to Todd Mattley, CalPERS’ Global Head of Proxy Voting (phone: 916-795-0565).

Meanwhile, CalPERS’ cross-town peer CalSTRS has also written to investors to drum up support for its resolutions on methane emissions at US extractives firms Continental Resources and Energen Corporation.