Photo: Glencore

An investor coalition, Climate Action 100+ along with the Anglican Church, successfully urged the multinational commodities firm Glencore (the largest coal exporter in the world) to cap at current levels the amount of coal it extracts, which is projected to be 145 million metric tons.  The Company made the announcement saying, “As one of the world’s largest diversified mining companies, we have a key role in enabling the transition to a low carbon economy.”

The Company, which is based in Switzerland, further announced that it will:

  • rebalance “its portfolio towards commodities that support the transition to a low-carbon economy,” and will report out how well it does each year, its longer-term projections for emissions reductions, including mitigation efforts, and the Board will evaluate how well its  capital expenditures and investments are aligned with the Paris Goals;
  • evaluate its executives based on how well they do in achieving the company’s climate change objectives;
  • achieve its initial target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 5% by 2020 compared to a 2016 baseline; and
  • ensure that its membership in relevant trade associations does not undermine its support for the Paris Agreement and the Paris Goals.

Glencore sees its future beyond coal and intends to play a key role in enabling the transition to a low carbon economy — its mining portfolio includes copper, cobalt, nickel, vanadium, and zinc – which are necessary minerals to fuel the energy and transportation shifts.  The Anglican Church pledged to continue to use its shareholder clout to push other companies to do more to combat climate change.  “We will not be able to invest successfully in a world in which there is runaway damaging climate change,” said Edward Mason, head of responsible investment at the church. “We need to use more assertive techniques as shareholders to ensure better alignment of interests on this.”

Why This Matters:  This move by Glencore is a step in the right direction with levels of transparency and a pledge to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement that should be matched by other similar companies. Shareholders have the power to force change if they choose to use it to address climate.  And the Anglican Church played a pivotal role and hopefully will continue to do so and file many more shareholder resolutions that are successful.  Amen to that.

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