South32

InfluenceMap Score
D+
Performance Band
51%
Organisation Score
52%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Metals & Mining
Head​quarters:
Perth, Australia
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: South32 has mixed engagement with climate policy. The company’s top-line statements on climate action are broadly supportive, but evidence suggests that the company continues to support a sustained role for coal in the energy mix, and does not support the role of green hydrogen.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: South32 appears to have positive top-line positioning on climate change. On its corporate website in February 2022, South32 appeared to support the global goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. However, as of August 2022 this statement no longer appears on the company’s website. The company does however appear to support the goals of the Paris Agreement on its corporate website as of August 2022. The company also supported the Paris Agreement in its 2021 Sustainable Development Report. Additionally, in a February 2022 Australian Financial Review Article, South32 CEO Graham Kerr supported the implementation of climate policy by the Australian government, and stated that the company hopes climate policy is prominent in the Australian federal election campaign.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: There is limited evidence of South32’s engagement with specific climate change regulations in both 2022 and in past years. South32 has not responded to CDP’s climate change information requests from 2018 to 2021. In September 2022, South32 submitted a response to the Safeguard Mechanism Reform consultation paper. In its responses, the company appeared to support the removal of ‘aggregate’ headroom from July 2024, the lowering of thresholds to cover all operating facilities emitting over 25kt of carbon dioxide by 2030, and for facilities that generate SMCs to not be able to generate ACCUs. However, South32 also appeared to call for lower rates of baseline decline for facilities with facility-specific emission intensity values below the industry average, and supported differentiated baselines for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed sectors without referencing the need to avoid undermining the policy.

Positioning on Energy Transition: South32 appears to have broadly negative engagement with the energy transition, however its transparent engagement in 2022 is limited. The company’s top-line messaging indicates support for the energy transition. In South32’s 2021 Sustainable Development Report, the company supported the transition to a low carbon economy. In the same report, the company also appeared to support the electrification of transport, specifically within the mining industry.

However, in a May 2021 ABC News article, South32 supported a sustained role for coal in the energy mix by launching legal proceedings against the New South Wales government, aiming to overturn the rejection of its Dendrobium mine expansion. The company called for the mine to continue operations until 2048. Furthermore, in December 2020 South32 lobbied the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission to extend the life of the same coal mine until 2048, emphasizing its economic and employment benefits for Australia. South32 also appears to have mixed positions on the role of green hydrogen in the energy mix. In its 2021 Sustainable Development Report, the company emphasized the economic issues with green hydrogen, stating that “existing energy markets and infrastructure do not currently support the commercial deployment of renewable energy alternatives such as hydrogen”. However, in an August 2022 Bloomberg article, South32 CEO Graham Kerr appeared to support the role of green hydrogen in the decarbonization of heavy industry, however the timeframe of the transition is unclear.

Industry Association Governance: South32 discloses its industry association memberships in its 2020 Sustainability Report, and provided some updates on its industry association’s top-line positions on climate change in its 2021 Sustainability Report. The company has also published a review of the company’s alignment with their positions on climate change. In its review, South32 found no material misalignments with its industry associations. However, this assessment does not appear to capture the obstructive lobbying activities of several organizations of which it is a member including the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, the Minerals Council of Australia and the NSW Minerals Council.

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 Q3 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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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
38%
 
38%
 
53%
 
53%
 
78%
 
78%
 
63%
 
63%
 
31%
 
31%
 
44%
 
44%
 
77%
 
77%
 
28%
 
28%
 
65%
 
65%
 
44%
 
44%
 
54%
 
54%
 
61%
 
61%

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.