Rio Tinto Group

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Relationship Score
Modifications to InfluenceMap Scoring
London, United Kingdom
Brands and Associated Companies

Climate Lobbying Overview: Rio Tinto is actively engaged on climate and energy policy. 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, including GHG emissions regulation and carbon pricing. In addition, Rio Tinto retains membership to numerous highly oppositional trade groups despite repeatedly finding misalignments regarding climate policy positions in the company’s industry association review.

Top-Line Messaging on Climate Policy: Through its corporate disclosures in 2018-2020, Rio Tinto has communicated positive, top-line positions on the Paris Agreement and the goals of limiting climate change to below 2°C. Notably in its 2020 disclosures, the company further specified that the company supported the need to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5” and that it does “not support advocacy for policies that undermine the Paris Agreement or discount Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs)”. Following the Australian bushfires in 2020, Rio Tinto announced support for a national net zero target for 2050. Between 2018-2020 the company has regularly disclosed its support for a market-based price on carbon. In 2020, Rio Tinto reportedly called for an Australian price on carbon, although its engagement on the issue appears to focus on measures to protect the competitiveness of carbon-intensive firms.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Rio Tinto’s more detailed engagement on GHG emissions legislation and regulation, however, has appeared less positive. For example, in 2018, Rio Tinto suggested that the New Zealand Government remove GHG emission targets from the Zero Carbon Bill on the grounds that it was potentially politically divisive. Additionally, in 2018, Rio Tinto supported weakening the stringency of the Australian federal Safeguard Mechanism, a policy that sets emissions benchmarks for heavy emitting companies’ facilities. In 2019, the company also advocated against additional mandatory measures on GHG emissions at the state-level in Australia. In 2020, Rio Tinto directly advocated policy makers to oppose the addition of a greenhouse gas emissions requirements in the Australian Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Regarding carbon pricing, the company appears not to have supported stronger carbon pricing regulation both in British Columbia (Canada) and New Zealand in 2018.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Since 2018, Rio Tinto’s sustainability disclosures have stated support for increased electrification of transport and a shift away from fossil fuels. However, Rio Tinto’s 2019 Industry Association review appears to support a long term role for coal, although in conjunction with the use of ‘advanced technology’, and that in the medium to long term its use must be consistent with Paris targets. However, 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 regular industry association reviews since 2018. In its 2020 review, Rio Tinto does not appear to identify any cases of material misalignment, although it does appear to highlight areas of potential misalignment with the Minerals Council of Australia, National Mining Association and US Chamber of Commerce. However, Rio Tinto retains memberships to these 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, Queensland Resources Council, and Business Council of Australia).

Main Web Site Social Media CDP Responses Legislative Consultations Media Reports CEO Messaging Financial Disclosures EU Register
Climate Science Transparency
1 2 NS 2 1 1 NS NA
Climate Science Stance
1 0 NA 0 1 0 NS NA
Need for Climate Regulation
0 2 NS -1 1 0 NS NA
UN Treaty Support
1 1 NA 1 1 1 NS NA
Transparency on Legislation
Carbon Tax
0 -2 -1 -1 -2 -2 NS NA
Emissions Trading
0 0 0 -1 1 1 NS NA
Energy Efficiency Standards
NS 0 -1 -2 -2 NS NS NA
Renewable Energy Legislation
-1 -1 NS -2 -1 -1 NS NA
Energy Policy and Mix
0 0 NS 0 -1 0 NS NA
GHG Emission Standards
0 NS 0 -1 NS NS NS NA
Disclosure on Relationships
Strength of Relationship

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.