Home > Media release: Rio faces shareholder revolt over emissions targets
Media Release

Media release: Rio faces shareholder revolt over emissions targets

8 May 2020

Friday 8 May, 2020: 37% of investors have backed a climate resolution calling on Rio Tinto to set clear targets to cut emissions, including those generated by the-use of its products, or “Scope 3” emissions.

While lower than record numbers at Santos and Woodside, the vote is more than six times that of the same resolution in 2019, and marks a significant hardening of investor attitudes.

“Today’s vote shows investors have woken up to Rio Tinto’s obfuscation and the huge risks to its business from climate change and transition.”

“Rio’s scope 3 emissions are massive – comparable to the carbon footprint of Australia. This is a staggering level of climate risk for any company, and hence for any investor, to bear,” said Market Forces’ Executive Director, Julien Vincent.

“With rival miners such as BHP, Vale and Glencore having already committed to set scope 3 targets, Rio has no excuse for its current policy vacuum.” 

Currently, Rio’s plan to reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions falls well short of what’s required to meet the Paris climate goals, while it has no targets to manage its scope 3 emissions, which make up approximately 94% of Rio Tinto’s carbon footprint and represent by far the company’s greatest exposure to transitional climate change risk.

This is in clear contravention of both the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which recommends setting targets to manage climate risk exposures, and the Climate Action 100+, which calls on companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across their value chain, consistent with the Paris Agreement’s goals.

“Given the importance the Climate Action 100+ places on Paris-aligned targets for emissions across companies’ entire value chains, we’re hoping that Climate Action 100+ investors can quickly confirm they supported this initiative and expect Rio Tinto to set Paris-aligned targets in the next year.” 

“Certainly, if the company doesn’t act to correct its stance on emissions targets, it can expect to face a similar shareholder proposal at its 2021 AGM.”

Market announcement

Read the resolution

Read the investor briefing

Read Market Forces’ Executive Director Julien Vincent’s statement to the AGM