Rio Tinto: largest ever shareholder revolt directed against coal lobby in Australia


A shareholder resolution focusing on Rio Tinto’s relationship with lobby groups drew over 18% of the vote at the Annual General Meeting of Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) in Melbourne today. When taking into account abstentions, over 20% of shareholders didn’t vote with Rio’s management on this issue. This represents nearly $4 billion in shareholder capital.

The resolution was co-filed by the Church of England Pensions Board along with the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), Australian pension fund Local Government Super, and The Seventh Swedish National Pension Fund (AP7). 

This is the largest vote for a shareholder resolution related to climate change, without board support, in Australian corporate history and came despite the opposition of the company board and the main proxy voting advisors. 

Adam Matthews, Head of Engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board said: “This is the largest shareholder revolt against management on the issue of climate change in Australian corporate history. It’s a highly significant vote on an important issue of Rio’s support of trade associations and their negative lobbying to prevent action to address climate change.

“This was a very reasonable resolution that has gathered the support of many shareholders with trillions in assets under management. It justified a better response from Rio’s Board and I would encourage the Chairman to now take the opportunity to commit to undertake the called for review as well as to publish Rio’s funding of trade associations.  It is clear a large element of Rio shareholders would welcome such a step.

“Going forward we will continue to engage with Rio’s board and will work together with the funds that have supported our resolution.  I would also like to pay tribute to the partnership we have developed with the co-filers LGS, ACCR, AP7 as well as the support we have had from Client Earth and ShareAction.”