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 that of Rio Tinto. 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 work to employ best practice in their political engagement activity.
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.
Significant differences in policy positions/advocacy
We list all our major industry associations important to our policy advocacy approach and that take positions on climate and energy issues in the table below.
We also provide further information on any of those industry associations whose positions and advocacy on climate and energy policy significantly differ from Rio Tinto’s climate and energy elements below.
Industry associations whose positions and advocacy on climate and energy policy significantly differ from Rio Tinto’s climate and energy policy elements
National Mining Association (US)
The National Mining Association (NMA) advocates for national and international mining interests in the United States. Although there are many areas of agreement, on issues such as mining law reform, safety and public land management, there is a significant departure on climate and energy policy positions between the NMA and Rio Tinto as set out in the table below.
Rio Tinto is represented on the NMA board and has communicated Rio Tinto’s position on the need to address climate change and recommended that NMA changes its position. Rio Tinto further advocated for the NMA to create an environmental, social and governance (ESG) task force which will guide the NMA’s future positioning on these matters. Rio Tinto will help lead this effort in order to better align NMA policy with Rio Tinto policy.
National Mining Association policy differences
Association position / advocacy
Rio Tinto’s policy element
The NMA does not support the Paris Agreement on the grounds that it believes that it would have damaging effects on the US economy.
Advance the Paris Agreement goals to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Market mechanisms for cost effective abatement
The NMA did not support the Clean Air Act (2008) and campaigned to remove the Clean Power Plan (CPP). NMA believes the CPP would not have had a meaningful impact on climate change and would have resulted in increased electricity costs in the US. It sees government’s role as supporting the development of low emissions technology, rather than implementing regulation that would put a price on carbon, due to its damaging effects on the US economy.
Support market mechanisms, including carbon pricing, that stimulate innovation and cost-effective emissions reductions and minimise competitive distortions within and across sectors and jurisdictions.
Separate to the above, our 2019 Industry Association Disclosure noted some instances of misalignment between public statements made by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and our industry association and climate change principles. We then worked closely with the MCA to clarify our expectations of industry association advocacy, particularly around climate change.
During 2020, we have seen a positive shift in the position and commentary of the MCA on climate and energy matters, including the release of a Climate Action Plan and improved support for the goals of the Paris Agreement. In 2021 we will continue to engage with the MCA to seek closer alignment with our climate principles and further improve its advocacy governance processes.
In addition, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) undertook political advocacy in 2020 that was identified as inconsistent with our own policies regarding electoral political processes. We raised this with the QRC and will continue to encourage advocacy in line with our policies. Also, although the QRC did not have significant differences in stated climate and energy policy positions or advocacy, there is scope for improvement.
Policy and advocacy alignment
Where our membership is significant, we will work in partnership with industry associations to ensure that their policy positions and advocacy are consistent with Rio Tinto’s climate and energy elements.
In accordance with the provisions governing the monitoring of our industry association memberships, we will consider our support and membership of industry associations where they do not partner with us in seeking to advance the above policy agenda.
Please note the above text represents a consolidation of previous reports. For completeness, these can be viewed through the links below: