Rio Tinto Group

InfluenceMap Score
D-
Performance Band
43%
Organisation Score
44%
Relationship Score
Modifications to InfluenceMap Scoring
Sector:
Materials
Head​quarters:
London, United Kingdom
Brands and Associated Companies
Alcan

Climate Lobbying Overview: Rio Tinto communicates positive top line positions on climate change, however, at a more detailed level, appears to have negatively lobbied against a range of policies, particularly Australian GHG emissions regulation and market-based policies in New Zealand. Although Rio Tinto appears to have limited direct engagement with climate-related legislation in 2021, the company retains memberships to numerous highly oppositional industry associations actively engaged on climate policy.

Top-Line Messaging on Climate Policy: In its 2020 Climate Report, published in February 2021, Rio Tinto accepted IPCC’s climate science and communicated positive, top-line positions on the Paris Agreement and ambitions to reach net-zero by 2050. In its 2021 Industry Association Disclosure, Rio Tinto further specified that it “does not support advocacy for policies that undermine the Paris Agreement or discount Nationally Determined Contributions”. Between 2019-2021, Rio Tinto has regularly disclosed its support for a market-based price on carbon. In its 2020 Climate Report, Rio Tinto supported the implementation of a market-based price on carbon in Australia to achieve emissions reductions “at lowest 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 appears broadly unsupportive of specific GHG emissions legislation and regulation, although the company has had limited direct engagement in 2021. 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. In August 2019, Rio Tinto also directly lobbied the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia to exclude Scope 3 emissions from its greenhouse gas assessment guidelines.

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 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. In the same response, Rio Tinto supported a cap-and-trade system in Quebec but called for a gradual, rather than drastic, reduction in free emissions allowances.

Positioning on Energy Transition: In its 2020 Climate Report, published in February 2021, Rio Tinto expressed top-line support for the transition to a low-carbon economy including electrification of transport, a shift away from fossil fuels and an increased role for renewables and hydrogen in the energy mix. 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.

In a June 2020 submission on Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap, Rio Tinto appeared to support a slower transition to a low-carbon economy, emphasizing risks of carbon leakage and loss of competitiveness for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries if the transition moves “too early”. Previously, in August 2019, in feedback to the Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Assessment Guidance, Rio Tinto appeared to caution against the early retirement of assets based on their emissions profile. Additionally, in 2019, Rio Tinto emphasized the cost of the energy transition to New Zealand’s economy in consultation with policymakers and argued that more stringent measures to pursue this in NZ “would not benefit the world or reduce global emissions”.

Industry Association Governance: Rio Tinto has published annual industry association reviews since 2018. In its 2021 review, Rio Tinto identifies significant misalignment with the National Mining Association and also highlights the Queensland Resources Council as having “scope for improvement”. Rio Tinto appears to suggest that its previous misalignment with the Minerals Council of Australia has been resolved following the publication of its 2020 Climate Action Plan. InfluenceMap’s analysis indicates that these three industry associations continue to be highly oppositional to climate policy. Rio Tinto retains memberships to the above organizations as well as 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, Business Council of Australia and the US Chamber of Commerce.

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

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
Main Web Site Social Media CDP Responses Legislative Consultations Media Reports CEO Messaging Financial Disclosures
Communication of Climate Science
1 2 NS 1 1 1 NS
Alignment with IPCC on Climate Action
1 1 NA 0 2 0 NS
Supporting the Need for Regulations
-1 2 NS -1 1 0 NS
Support of UN Climate Process
1 1 NA 1 2 1 NS
Transparency on Legislation
1 NA 1 NA NA NA NS
Carbon Tax
0 -2 -1 -1 -2 -2 NS
Emissions Trading
0 -2 0 -1 1 1 NS
Energy and Resource Efficiency
NS 0 -1 -2 -2 NS NS
Renewable Energy
-1 -1 NS -2 -2 -2 NS
Energy Transition & Zero Carbon Technologies
0 1 NS -1 0 1 NS
GHG Emission Regulation
0 -1 0 -1 NS NS NS
Disclosure on Relationships
1 NS 1 NA NA NA NS
Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
34%
 
34%
 
26%
 
26%
 
57%
 
57%
 
49%
 
49%
 
43%
 
43%
 
46%
 
46%
 
67%
 
67%
 
52%
 
52%
 
40%
 
40%
 
49%
 
49%
 
12%
 
12%
 
31%
 
31%
 
26%
 
26%
 
47%
 
47%
 
73%
 
73%
 
57%
 
57%
 
60%
 
60%
 
42%
 
42%
 
43%
 
43%
 
45%
 
45%
 
34%
 
34%

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.