Rio Tinto Group

InfluenceMap Score
D
Performance Band
48%
Organisation Score
48%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Metals & Mining
Head​quarters:
London, United Kingdom
Brands and Associated Companies:
Alcan
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Rio Tinto appears to support the energy transition, while also engaging negatively on climate policy in 2022. The company has communicated positive top line positions on climate change, and has supported Australia’s 2030 GHG target. However, Rio Tinto expressed negative positions on reforms to the Australian Safeguard Mechanism in 2022, and retains memberships to numerous highly oppositional industry associations actively engaged on climate policy.

Top-Line Messaging on Climate Policy: Rio Tinto expresses mostly positive top line positions on climate change. On its ‘Our approach to climate change’ webpage, accessed in August 2022, the company accepted the IPCC’s climate science, and supported limiting warming to at least 2°C and pursuing efforts to achieve 1.5°C of warming. In its 2021 Climate Report, published in February 2022, the company also supported achieving the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In its 2021 Industry Association Disclosure, published in February 2022, Rio Tinto further specified that it “does not support advocacy for policies that undermine the Paris Agreement or discount Nationally Determined Contributions”.

Between 2019-2022, Rio Tinto has regularly disclosed its support for a market-based price on carbon. In its 2021 Climate Change report, published in February 2022, Rio Tinto supported the implementation of a market-based price on carbon in Australia to achieve emissions reductions “at least cost”, although its position appears to focus on measures to protect the competitiveness of emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Rio Tinto has expressed support for greenhouse gas emissions regulations in 2022. In a July 2022 Sydney Morning Herald article, Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm strongly supported Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030. Similarly, in an August 2022 Australian Financial Review Article, Rio Tinto CEO Australia Kellie Parker also appeared to support the target, stating that it is “aligned” with Rio Tinto’s strategy. However, in a September 2022 consultation response to reforms on the Australian Safeguard Mechanism, the company supported the reforms with major exceptions. For example, the company supported free allocation of Safeguard Mechanism Credits (SMCs), and supported differentiated baselines reductions and financial assistance for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries.

In April 2020, in comments submitted on the review of Australia’s central piece of environmental legislation, the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, Rio Tinto directly advocated policymakers to exclude greenhouse gas emissions requirements from the legislation. Rio Tinto has also engaged negatively on market-based regulation. In submissions to the New Zealand Environment Committee in January 2020 and February 2020, Rio Tinto’s subsidiary, New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter, appeared to prioritize the need to protect trade competitiveness and carbon leakage under the NZ Emissions Trading System. In its 2020 CDP response, Rio Tinto also supported a carbon tax in Canada and South Africa with major exceptions, advocating for protections for trade competitiveness of emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries and emphasizing the threat of carbon leakage.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Rio Tinto has mixed positions on the energy mix. In an August 2022 Australian Financial Review article, CEO Australia Kellie Parker supported the continued role of the Gladstone coal-fired power station in the Queensland energy transition beyond 2030, without referencing the deployment of carbon capture and storage. In a May 2022 Australian Financial Review article, Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm supported the steep ramp up of renewable energy in the Australian energy mix, stating that “Australia is not building renewable energy fast enough to remove coal-fired power”, and also supported the closure of coal-fired power plants. CEO Australia Kellie Parker also appeared to support the transition to renewables and the decarbonization of the steel sector in Australia, however she did emphasize the importance of maintaining industry competitiveness. Rio Tinto’s 2021 Industry Association Disclosure also stated that it expected any positions and advocacy on the use of coal to not support subsidies, although it appeared to support a long-term role for coal in conjunction with the use of “advanced technology”, and that in the medium to long term its use must be consistent with Paris targets.

Industry Association Governance: Rio Tinto has published annual industry association reviews since 2018. In its 2021 review, Rio Tinto identified significant misalignment with the National Mining Association and highlighted partial alignment with the Queensland Resources Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Minerals Council of Australia. InfluenceMap’s analysis indicates that these industry associations continue to be highly oppositional to climate policy. Rio Tinto terminated its membership with Queensland Resources Council in April 2022. Despite this, Rio Tinto retains memberships to other industry associations that continue to oppose ambitious policy action on climate change, including Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, Minerals Council South Africa, and the Business Council of Australia.

InfluenceMap collects and assesses evidence of corporate climate policy engagement on a weekly basis, depending on the availability of information from each specific data source (for more information see our methodology). While this analysis flows through to the company’s scores each week, the summary above is updated periodically. This summary was last updated in Q4 2022.

A detailed assessment of the company's corporate review on climate policy engagement can be found on InfluenceMap's CA100+ Investor Hub here.

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
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11NS-101NS
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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
51%
 
51%
 
53%
 
53%
 
51%
 
51%
 
38%
 
38%
 
46%
 
46%
 
29%
 
29%
 
47%
 
47%
 
61%
 
61%
 
36%
 
36%
 
67%
 
67%
 
57%
 
57%
 
69%
 
69%
 
54%
 
54%
 
67%
 
67%
 
44%
 
44%
 
12%
 
12%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.