New campaigns to reverse adverse climate changePublished by MAC on 2019-05-01
Source: Investment Week, Earthworks, MiningWatch Canada
Banks under global spotlight
Several major NGO's have launched campaigns aimed at bulwarking the growing movement to combat galloping adverse climate change.
The first is directed at the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock, whose subsidiary, London-based BlackRock World Mining Trust has significant holdings in many global mining companies.
Its largest is with BHP, followed by Rio Tinto, then Vale at third, Glencore at number 4, First Quantum at number 5, and Teck at sixth position in its portfolio.
At the same time, more than fifty organisations pledged to end the World Bank's backing for mining companies, have issued a statement challenging assumptions to its newly-conceived "Climate-Smart Mining" initiative.
Comments MiningWatch Canada's Ugo LaPointe:
“We are alarmed to note that the World Bank has primarily partnered with mining companies in developing and launching its new Climate-Smart Mining initiative, largely putting mining company agendas and interests before much needed efforts to shift demand and increase protections for workers, communities and the environment.”
BlackRock under renewed pressure to support climate action
'The world’s leading investor in climate destruction can no longer evade responsibility'
Environmental campaigners urged BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to do more to tackle climate change
1 May 2019
A coalition of groups led by Majority Action has delivered over 129,000 petition signatures to BlackRock in an effort to force the world's largest asset manager to use its voting powers to force companies to act responsibly on climate.
The petition calls on BlackRock, Vanguard and Fidelity to use their voting powers responsibly by supporting key climate-related shareholder resolutions and voting against directors who are not serving long-term investors' best interests at nine major upcoming shareholder meetings.
The latest push comes hot on the heels of an environmental campaign labelled 'BlackRock's Big Problem', which criticised the group last year for being the "largest owner of fossil fuel companies and single largest contributor to climate destruction". Many of the signatories of the latest petition were involved with this campaign at the time.
This time, groups are demanding that BlackRock support key shareholder resolutions on climate change and political transparency at upcoming AGMs held by such firms as Amazon, ExxonMobil, Ford and General Motors over the coming weeks.
The petition criticised major asset managers like BlackRock for voting down climate shareholder resolutions year after year, despite claiming they will use their powers to ensure companies act responsibly on climate.
Fund managers putting pressure on oil companies to end focus on fossil fuels
According to the groups involved, BlackRock supported 99% of management-nominated directors at US fossil fuel companies, while voting for just 10% of key climate shareholder resolutions.
Eli Kasargod-Staub, executive director of Majority Action, said: "With control of millions of votes, Larry Fink has unrivalled power to push corporate America to move forward to stop climate change and protect long-term shareholder value.
"While BlackRock claims to care that companies act responsibly on climate, it is obvious that private dialogue is not yielding results nearly as fast or as ambitious as what is needed to match the urgency of this crisis. Shareholders are clear that the time for engagement without meaningful progress and action must come to an end."
"It's time for Larry Fink to put up or shut up," added Lukas Ross, senior policy analyst at Friends of the Earth.
"Instead of protecting the world's worst polluters, BlackRock needs to start using its shareholder power to protect future generations. The world's leading investor in climate destruction can no longer evade responsibility."
Carolyn Fiddler, Daily Kos Communications Director noted BlackRock and other major fund groups have the opportunity to be responsible stewards of more than just people's retirement savings, "they can can help secure our future by taking a concrete step to combat climate catastrophe and setting the stage for others to do the same".
Over 50 Organizations Urge World Bank to Boost Recycling, Circular Economy & Non-Mining Solutions for a Truly Climate Smart Agenda
Earthworks and Miningwatch Canada
1 May 2019
As the World Bank today launches its new ‘Climate-Smart Mining’ facility, organizations from around the world are urging the financial institution to prioritize recycling, circular economy, public transit, and other non-mining solutions as the primary components of its agenda. Efforts should also be made to bolster responsible sourcing.
“To avert catastrophic climate change we support a just and rapid transition to a renewable energy economy, but promoting business-as-usual mining is not the answer. A truly “Climate-Smart” agenda would prioritize recycling, reuse, substitution and consumption changes before new mining,” stated Earthworks’ Mining Program Director Payal Sampat.
In a letter sent to the World Bank yesterday, over 50 organizations working with hundreds of mining-affected communities and workers around the world voiced their concerns about the World Bank’s expanding investment in mining without accompanying changes in mining practices or consumption patterns.
Added Ugo LaPointe of MiningWatch Canada: “We are alarmed to note that the World Bank has primarily partnered with mining companies in developing and launching its new Climate-Smart Mining initiative, largely putting mining company agendas and interests before much needed efforts to shift demand and increase protections for workers, communities and the environment.”
Metals mining is currently one of the world’s dirtiest industries, responsible for at least 10% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and over 50% of all toxic solid wastes in many producing countries. Mining is linked to severe human rights abuses, violent conflict and unsafe working conditions in some parts of the world.
According to new research from University of Technology, Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, Responsible Minerals Sourcing for Renewable Energy, as demand for these scarce minerals skyrockets, the associated environmental and human impacts are likely to rise steeply as well.
Carlos Lozano, Senior Attorney with AIDA in Colombia, adds: “As a public financial institution, the World Bank is responsible for ensuring the sustainability of projects it finances, and should foster improved mining practices and truly renewable energy systems.”
Signatories point out there is a timely opportunity to scale up our dependence on clean, renewable energy sources, while scaling back our dependence on dirty mining. Doing so will require a concerted commitment from businesses, financial institutions, and governments to:
Boost recycling and minimize toxicity: through incentives for minerals recycling, efficiency, product take-backs, and easily reusable, repairable and recyclable product design.
Ensure responsible minerals sourcing: Where sourcing from mining operations is absolutely necessary, mining operations should adhere to stringent international environmental and human rights best-practices standards (such as those developed by the multi-stakeholder Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance) with independent, third-party assurance of compliance, and chain-of-custody schemes that allow consumers to make informed decisions.
Sampat said: “It will take more than technological fixes to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and ensure equity in access to the benefits of clean energy. The World Bank shouldn’t be promoting new mining while the climate crisis offers an opportunity to rethink how societies, particularly wealthy ones, consume energy and products, and transport goods and people.”
Brendan McLaughlin, Earthworks, +1.206.892.8832
Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada, +1.613.761.2273