In a sign of improving ESG transparency and accountability, Glencore and Rio Tinto, two of the world’s largest mining and resources companies, have announced plans to bring their climate strategies before shareholders for a vote. Glencore stated that its climate strategy will be put to shareholders for an advisory vote at its AGM in April, and Rio Tinto said that its TCFD‐ aligned Climate Change report will be put to an advisory vote at its 2022 AGM.

Rio Tinto also announced other significant climate actions, including setting Scope 3 emissions reduction targets for the first time, and to strengthen the link between executive compensation and ESG performance at the company. Glencore also recently announced goals to reduce its total emissions footprint across Scope 1, 2 and 3 by 40% by 2035.

Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto Chief Executive said:

“Last year we set clear 2030 CO2 emission targets and set an ambition of being net zero by 2050. Today we set out our first scope 3 goals, and a commitment to working with our customers – and their customers – to reduce emissions and decarbonise the production of certain metals.

“We will include climate change targets in management incentive plans. And our TCFD‐ aligned Climate Change report will be put to an advisory vote at our 2022 Annual General Meetings. These are all significant changes, that will drive behaviour in our approach to tackling climate change.”

Glencore and Rio Tinto have both been the targets of shareholder action on climate change, including being listed as focus companies by Climate Action 100+, an investor initiative with over 545 investors representing more than $52 trillion in assets. CA 100+ targets the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to promote taking necessary action on climate change, and align their business strategies with net zero in order to help limit average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Glencore’s Chief Executive Officer, Ivan Glasenberg, said:

“We are focused on playing our part in supporting the Paris goals and have set out a clear strategy to address our total emissions footprint – being Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

“Glencore has been transforming the global commodities industry for nearly half a century, growing from a trader of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, minerals and crude oil, into one of the world’s largest natural resource companies. Today, the business and its portfolio of commodities is uniquely positioned for the needs of the future. It is ready to support the transition to a low-carbon economy and realise its ambition of net-zero by 2050. We remain focussed on creating sustainable long-term value for all stakeholders while operating in a responsible manner across all aspects of our business.”

The vote announcements mark a significant move forward for sustainable investing and shareholder advocates who have been pushing for greater visibility into companies’ plans to tackle emissions reductions and climate-related efforts. Last year, for example, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), founded by activist investor Chris Hohn and Jamie Cooper, launched the “Say on Climate” campaign, aiming to enlist asset managers in the effort to push companies to submit climate action plans for votes at their AGMs.

Michael Hugman, Director, Finance – Climate at Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, told ESG Today:

“Disclosure of climate transition action plans, and an annual vote for shareholders, are critical to turn net zero commitments into action and accountability in line with CIFF’s climate finance strategy. Companies should make annual votes permanent, whilst investors should use tools like the CA100+ net zero benchmark to assess plans and engage directly with boards where they are insufficient.”