South32

InfluenceMap Score
D
Performance Band
51%
Organisation Score
48%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Metals & Mining
Head​quarters:
Perth, Australia
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: South32’s engagement on climate policy is largely limited to top-line statements on climate action, which are broadly supportive. However, 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, accessed in January 2022, South32 appeared to support the global goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. In its 2021 and 2020 Sustainable Development Reports, the company also supported the Paris Agreement. South32 also stated its support for national bipartisan policy for carbon pricing mechanisms in its 2020 Sustainable Development Report, although the company appears to favor market-based and technology-neutral forms of climate regulation. Additionally, In a February 2022 Australian Financial Review Article, South32 CEO Graham Kerr supported the implementation of climate policy by the Australian government, and that the company hopes climate policy is prominent in the federal election campaign.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: There is limited evidence of South32’s engagement with specific climate change regulation. The company does not disclose its position on, or engagement, with specific climate policy in its corporate reporting, and it has not disclosed to CDP from 2018 to 2021.

In a 2021 Q2 investor call transcript, published in February 2021, South32’s CEO Graham Kerr appeared to support the Biden administration’s policy objectives, including decarbonization. However, no specific policies were mentioned. In February 2020, Kerr also sought clarification on the inclusion of Scope 3 emissions in New South Wales planning regulations, but did not take a clear position.

Positioning on Energy Transition: South32 appears to have a broadly negative engagement with energy transition policy. 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, with a focus on the role of technology in the transition. In the same report, the company also appeared to support the electrification of transport, specifically within the mining industry.

However, in December 2020, South32 lobbied the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission to extend one of its existing coal mines until 2048, emphasizing the economic and employment benefits for Australia. South32 also does not appear to supportive of a significant role for 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”. In a March 2021 article in the Sunday Morning Herald, South32’s CEO Graham Kerr commented on the near-term implementation of green hydrogen in steelworks, stating that the technology to implement it “is decades at least away”.

Industry Association Governance: South32 discloses its industry association memberships in its 2020 Sustainability Report, and 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.

A detailed assessment of the company's industry association review can be found on our CA100+ platform here.

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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
68%
 
68%
 
76%
 
76%
 
50%
 
50%
 
60%
 
60%
 
31%
 
31%
 
76%
 
76%
 
28%
 
28%
 
33%
 
33%
 
53%
 
53%
 
79%
 
79%
 
59%
 
59%

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.