Rio Tinto board supports ‘Aiming for A’ climate resilience resolution

Board of mining giant backs shareholder motion ahead of AGM

The board of mining giant Rio Tinto has come out in support of a shareholder resolution on climate resilience put forward by a group of investors under the ‘Aiming for A’ banner.

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. It follows the boards of oil companies BP, Shell and Statoil last year backing similar “supportive but stretching” proposals – which went through at the respective AGMs with near unanimous shareholder support. Just this week RI reported that Canadian tar sands firm Suncor was supportive of an analogous resolution from mutual fund firm NEI Investments.

Rio Tinto said in its AGM statement: “The Chairman and management met with representatives of the coalition in December 2015 and support the intention behind the resolution.”The resolution is being proposed as a special resolution, which requires at least three-quarters of the votes cast to be in favour. It requires additional disclosure is made by the company with regard to risks associated with climate change. Similar resolutions have also been filed with rivals Anglo American and Glencore.

The initiative is being supported by environmental law firm ClientEarth, whose lawyer Alice Garton said: “This is an encouraging move from Rio Tinto’s board.

“Carbon heavy companies are particularly exposed to the risks associated with climate change, like stranded assets and increased regulation, so it is essential that those risks, and the opportunities available, are communicated fully and openly to investors.”

The ‘A’ within ‘Aiming for A’ refers to the best performance band (between A-E) of environmental data body CDP. Rio Tinto holds its AGM in London on April 14.