Weipa operations, Australia

Industry association disclosure

Industry associations have an important role to play in the policy development process, the sharing of best practice and the development of standards. They provide us with a leadership opportunity, allowing us to better understand a range of external views and contribute our perspectives and experiences in support of a coordinated approach which benefits business, the economy and society.

We recognise there is increasing stakeholder interest in industry associations and the role they play in policy advocacy.

Each industry association is different. Some focus on a thematic mandate and promote best practice in a given domain; while others gather a broader set of companies and represent a sector’s interest to government, policy makers and other stakeholders. Our participation across different industry associations will also vary, with more active engagement in associations on issues where we can benefit, influence and add value.

Our work with industry associations

Industry Association Disclosure 2023
1.72 MB

Our principles for industry association advocacy

Climate change presents a significant challenge for the world and for Rio Tinto. Read more about our approach to climate change.

Significant progress towards a solution to climate change will only occur where there is broad engagement involving the breadth of experience and opinion from business, governments, investors, civil society organisations and consumers. Government policy that creates the right framework for change is critical, coupled with real business action and societal shifts. Collaboration across countries, industries and society is key to achieving the systemic change needed to meet climate challenges.

Our approach to climate change therefore requires active engagement on climate and energy policy with governments, industry associations, investors and civil society in the countries where we operate. 

We expect our industry associations to align with us on the journey to achieve the goals in the Paris Agreement.

In particular, we expect policy positions and advocacy by our industry associations to satisfy the following elements: 

  • Accept mainstream climate science and advance the Paris Agreement’s central aims
  • Support governments as they raise the ambition of their Nationally Determined Contributions
  • Support a market-based price on carbon. The purpose of these market mechanisms should be to stimulate innovation and cost-effective emissions reductions and minimise competitive distortions within and across sectors and jurisdictions
  • Support policy tools other than carbon pricing to tackle emissions reductions and simultaneously achieve objectives related to industrial policy
  • Recognise the valuable contribution that renewable energy sources make in reducing emissions and not undermine the role renewables have in the energy mix
  • Ensure that any positions on and advocacy of the use of thermal coal do not support subsidies and note that it will require advanced technology, and, in the medium to long term, must be consistent with the Paris Agreement targets

The value of industry association membership

We join industry associations where membership provides value to our business, investors and other stakeholders.

The value of membership and the scope of services provided to members of industry associations varies by industry association for each and may include:

  • opportunities to understand a range of views on issues affecting the industry
  • opportunities for us to contribute our perspectives and experiences in support of efficient and effective policy
  • opportunities to share best practices, technical insights and research on safety, health and the environment
  • opportunities to contribute to the development of industry standards
  • cost-sharing among members for the development of technical expertise
  • education and professional development opportunities
  • opportunities to open new markets, improve the operating environment for our assets or create new opportunities for our products that add value for shareholders
  • engagement with employees or customers across the industry

Positions taken by industry associations on a given topic will consider a range of members’ views, and the nuance and emphasis of an industry association’s position may differ from ours. Diverse and differing views should be heard in order to support rich and full debate, reach compromises where appropriate, and make progress on solutions to complex issues. We encourage industry associations to engage broadly with other stakeholders (such as investors and non-government organisations). We expect our industry associations to employ best practice in their political engagement.

In our engagement with industry associations and more broadly, we do not favour any political party, group or individual.

We operate on a politically neutral basis. No political donations are made by the Group. However, in accordance with the United States Federal Election Campaign Act, US employees formed a Political Action Committee (PAC) in 1990 to facilitate bipartisan voluntary political contributions. The PAC operates in compliance with federal and state campaign finance laws.

This content is approved by our Board. Responsibility for the application of this document to individual association membership is delegated to management on a ‘comply or explain’ basis.

Monitoring of industry association memberships

Recognising that industry associations’ views will not always be the same as ours, we periodically review our memberships in individual industry associations. This assessment may include:

  • the purpose of the association and the value that the membership may provide to Rio Tinto and its investors;
  • appropriate governance structures within the industry association; and
  • activities and positions of advocacy of the industry association.

Where significant differences in policy positions arise, we may:

  • provide greater clarity on our own policy positions, such as company submissions on policy issues and/or direct engagement with policy makers;
  • work as part of that industry association to understand alternative points of view and to seek common ground that enables progress to be made;
  • seek a leadership position in the governance body of that industry association to further influence the policies and perspectives of that association; and/or
  • ultimately, and if formal dialogue processes appear incapable of resolving such differences in positions after 12 months, decide whether to suspend our membership. Such a decision will take into account other benefits, unrelated to climate change, that membership of such associations brings to our business, our investors and other stakeholders.

Industry association fees

Membership fees payable to industry associations are often based on either production volumes or revenue, and in some cases are subject to a cap. Generally, the annual subscription fee payable is an aggregate amount – that is, no part of the annual fee is earmarked for any particular purpose or activity. On some occasions, we pay charges in addition to membership fees to industry associations, these are typically for one-off projects or exceptional undertakings.

Our top 5 industry association memberships by fees are detailed in the table below.

  • Top 5 Association Memberships by Fees

    Rio Tinto’s top five industry association memberships by fees for 2023

    Industry association


    Rationale for membership

    Fee paid ($US)

    Natural Diamond Council (NDC)


    The Natural Diamond Council’s purpose is to protect and promote the integrity and reputation of diamonds, ensuring the sustainability of the diamond industry.


    Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)


    The MCA represents Australia’s exploration, mining and minerals processing industry nationally and internationally. They advocate for a sustainable, profitable and competitive industry, while also contributing to sustainable development and society.


    International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM)


    ICMM is dedicated to a safe, fair and sustainable mining and metals industry. It serves as a catalyst for change, enhancing mining's contribution to society.


    Aluminium Association (AA)


    The AA is committed to advancing aluminium as the sustainable metal of choice around the world. It provides global standards, industry statistics and expert knowledge to member companies and policy makers nationwide and is highly engaged in public policy and technical forums. 


    Aluminium Association of Canada (AAC)

    Canada The AAC represents the Canadian primary aluminium industry and strives to ensure that the industry is considered a world-class model of sustainable prosperity.


Policy and advocacy alignment

In accordance with the provisions governing the monitoring of our industry association memberships, we may decide to suspend our support and membership of industry associations if an industry association’s policy positions or advocacy differ significantly from Rio Tinto’s climate and energy policy and such differences appear incapable of being resolved.

Such a decision will take into account other benefits, unrelated to climate change, that membership of such associations brings to Rio Tinto, its investors and other stakeholders.

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