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Local authority funds and church investors in “Aiming for A” carbon dialogue with Rio Tinto

Discussions part of investor project targeting utilities and extractives companies

The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, which represents UK funds with more than £115bn (€132.9bn) in combined assets, has teamed up with church investors to engage with Rio Tinto about the mining giant’s approach to carbon management.

The engagement is part of the wider investor initiative called “Aiming for A”, which comprises some of the leading mutually owned fund managers, LAPFF itself and the largest members of the £12bn Church Investors Group.

The investors are asking major UK-listed utilities and extractives companies to aim for inclusion in the CDP’s [the former Carbon Disclosure Project] Carbon Performance Leadership Index.

The project is coordinated by Helen Wildsmith, Head of Ethical & Responsible Investment at fund firm CCLA. She said in RI last year that it would probably involve filing supportive shareholder resolutions for AGMs occurring after September 2013.LAPFF, in its latest engagement report, said Rio Tinto “agreed to continue communications regarding its business strategy for long-term sustainability”. The status of the dialogue is rated as “Change in Process” on the LAPFF’s list of company engagements. The forum is currently in engagement with 47 global companies.

Meanwhile, the Southwark Diocese in south London has voted “by overwhelming majority” to call for the Church of England’s governing body, the General Synod, to consider divesting from fossil fuel extraction and supply companies.
It also called for the church to set up a Working Group on the Environment. Canon Giles Goddard, who proposed the motion, said: “We must address the environmental crisis urgently. The earth is God’s creation and the Church should be taking a lead with our corporate response to climate change.” The motion also requests the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group to publish a review by the end of 2014.