Highlights of 2022
Together, this year, we’ve had quite a lot of impact.
Glencore drops Valeria Coal Mine
Glencore withdrew applications for approval of its $2B Valeria greenfield coal mine in December. The mine was slated to produce 16 million tonnes of coal out to 2067. Withdrawing from this project prevents over 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions that would have been released when this coal was burned.
Strategic projects lead, Naomi told the AFR, Glencore had listened to investors’ concerns about new coal mines. “This coal mine went against Glencore’s investor expectations and should never have been considered.”
Glencore’s review of the project’s future status should result in the mine being taken off the books. A new coal mine of this cost and scale is a stranded asset risk.
History is made at AGL
In November, AGL shareholders elected five new climate-focused directors to the board. “History has been made today” Brynn celebrated in the SMH. It was the first time the board of an Australian listed company had been transformed by shareholders over its handling of climate risks.
ACCR has been engaging with AGL since 2015, this result is a vindication of the power of shareholder engagement to produce real change.
AGL shows that the direction of high emitting companies can change and that energy transition is an immense opportunity. The boards of other high-emitting companies should take note: climate risk management is an ever increasing pressure and those who remain flat-footed in the face of rapidly shifting market dynamics will be held to account.
Norway’s US$1.4 trillion NBIM aligns with Paris, adopts “engage-to-change”
ACCR provided input into Norges Bank Investment Management’s 2025 Climate Action Plan which sets a target for net zero emissions by 2050 for all companies in its portfolio. “Our analyses show that a delayed climate transition is what constitutes the greatest financial risk for the fund” said NBIM. “We believe that our engage-to-change approach will yield the best financial results for the fund.”
Origin concedes to investor pressure, includes climate sensitivity in financial statements
ACCR withdrew its shareholder resolution calling for Origin Energy to include a 1.5°C climate change sensitivity analysis in its 2023 financial statements, after Origin agreed to deliver this information. “Climate risk is financial risk, it belongs in financial statements. Regulators and investors expect this,” said ACCR’s Alex Hillman.
AGL finally reads the room
The Board of AGL listened to its shareholders and accepted that the ageing, polluting coal-fired power station Loy Yang A is incompatible with the energy transition and a serious risk to company value. Closure is being brought forward from 2045 to 2035.
ACCR asks for Safeguard Mechanism with teeth
In a submission to the Australian government’s Safeguard Mechanism reform ACCR asked for an end to the practice of industry setting its own limits, and for restrictions to be placed on the use of carbon credits.
ACCR in Japan
ACCR successfully facilitated the first institutional investor group-led climate resolution in Japan. Together with MAN Group (the world's largest publicly traded hedge fund), HSBC AM and Amundi, we filed a “Paris aligned targets” resolution at one of the largest utilities in Japan, J-Power. The shareholder proposal was supported by leading proxy advisors ISS and Glass Lewis, and 26% of shareholders supported the resolution at the Company’s AGM in June, a very strong result which in many jurisdictions would be considered a shareholder revolt.
ACCR also facilitated successful engagement with the Japanese steelmaker JFE. We were joined by MAN Group and Norwegian Storebrand. During the course of our engagement, the company committed to strengthen its climate targets, and in the end no resolution was filed at the JFE AGM.
We are looking forward to continuing our engagement with both companies to ensure we achieve the goal of a safe climate for all.
The AGL Demerger vote was abandoned.
In 2021, our ACCR shareholder resolution to AGL Energy was supported by 54% of shareholders. In the now debunked Demerger Scheme Booklet and the accompanying investor presentation AGL did not satisfy the request of ACCR’s 2021 shareholder resolution so we opposed the demerger. ACCR has been campaigning for AGL to show better leadership on climate for four years. We called for board renewal two years ago. Today - we see the rewards for those efforts - with AGL withdrawing the Demerger proposal and spilling a number of Board positions. ACCR's shareholder community is critical to this long overdue outcome. You can read our press release here.
Rio Tinto supports the Commonwealth cultural heritage protection law reform process.
In April, our engagement with Rio Tinto and the National Native Title Council led to Rio Tinto breaking ranks with the WA Chamber of Minerals’ opposition to federal cultural heritage protection law, and instead giving its public support to the current federal cultural heritage protection law reform co-design process between the Commonwealth and First Nations leaders.
Rio Tinto exits the Queensland Resources Council.
We filed a shareholder resolution asking Rio Tinto to exit industry associations that continue to advocate for the development of new and expanded coal mines. Following a negotiation with the company, we withdrew the resolution upon its commitment to cease membership of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC). Leaving associations like this is a major win as it decreases the funding base for their destructive lobbying. Rio Tinto remains a member of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and ACCR was pleased that the MCA’s voice in the Federal Election was constrained. We will closely monitor the conduct of the MCA and the QRC as the new Labor government fine tunes its climate policy.
Record-breaking votes against company climate transition plans.
Rio Tinto, Santos and Woodside all provided their shareholders with a Say on Climate, being an advisory vote on company climate transition plans. UK-listed Glencore, which has a significant coal mining presence in Australia, also provided its shareholders with a Say on Climate. ACCR prepared analysis on the Rio Tinto, Woodside and Glencore climate plans and engaged with their major shareholders to influence their voting. As our misrepresentations claim against Santos is still before the Federal Court of Australia, we are currently limiting our public comments about Santos’ plan out of respect for the Court process.
In part due to ACCR’s analysis and advocacy, a Say on Climate record of 24% of shareholders voted against Glencore’s climate plan. This record was short lived as 37% of shareholders voted against the Santos plan and then a huge 49% of shareholders voted against the Woodside plan. These record results surpassed our expectations and have provided a critical leverage point to enforce board accountability on their climate response over the next 12 months.