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Rio Tinto investors to argue over company's climate targets during annual meeting

"Rio Tinto's top investors face off over emissions cut plan", 5 May 2020.

Rio Tinto’s top investors are set to face off at the company’s upcoming annual meeting, with only some of them in favour of pushing the miner to extend the range of its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The...company recently committed to spend $1 billion over the next five years to reduce its carbon footprint and have “net zero” emissions by 2050...The announcement triggered heated criticism from some investors and environment advocates, with a group led by a Friends of the Earth’s subsidiary tabling a shareholder motion to improve what it calls “weak” climate goals...proxy investor Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) is recommending shareholders support the resolution that asks the miner to also tackle...emissions...generated by customers through the use of its products...

While Rio Tinto should continue to reduce its own emissions, it’s probably not “feasible for the company to set goals based on how its customers determine to utilize its products,” the adviser said in a note to clients last month. Market Force, a subsidiary of activist investor Friends of the Earth, has said that Rio’s current plans are a “simply a reflection of business-as-usual,” energy cost savings and efficiency measures...UBS analyst Glyn Lawcock said the group could almost instantly achieve the 2030 target if it sold or closed its coal-fired alumina refineries and aluminum smelters in Australia...

Rio Tinto is not the only company criticized for its current plans to cut emissions. A report released Monday by a UK-based investor initiative showed that eight of the world’s top ten largest mining companies are not doing enough to help meet international climate goals.