Glencore PLC | Assessment of progress against the climate plan

Status
76.28% votes in favour
AGM date
Proposal number
13
Resolution details
Company ticker
GLEN:LN
Lead filer
Resolution ask
Adopt or amend a policy
ESG theme
  • Environment
ESG sub-theme
  • Climate Change
Company sector
Materials
Company HQ country
Switzerland
Resolved clause
To approve the Company’s 2021 Climate
Progress Report, taking into account the
2021 emissions reductions performance
data on pages 21 and 22 of the 2021 Annual
Report and 2021 capital allocation
expenditure as set out on page 23 of the
2021 Annual Report.
Supporting statement
At our 2021 AGM, shareholders provided a 94%
advisory vote in favour of our Climate Action
Transition Plan, elements of which are
summarised in Appendix 2 to this Notice.
As noted in the Chairman’s Letter on page 2 of
this document, this resolution provides an
opportunity for shareholders to provide an
advisory vote on our activities and progress
against our Climate Action Transition Plan.
On 2 December 2021 we published our first
Climate Progress Report. On 16 March 2022 we
published our 2021 Annual Report that contains
our emissions reductions performance data (on
pp. 21 & 22) and our capital allocation
expenditure (on p. 23) for 2021, which should be
taken into account when considering our
Climate Progress Report.
These reports set out:
(a) an overview of our capital allocation
strategy
(b) progress in addressing Just Transition
considerations
(c) a review of our industry organisations’
positions on climate change, and
(d) progress made against the seven pathways
identified to deliver our targets and
ambition, complemented by 2021
emissions reductions performance data.
This resolution is not binding on the Company.
Its purpose is to advise the Board, which retains
its decision-making powers, of the
shareholders’ view on these disclosures.

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility Against - Glencore’s emission targets are not consistent with the steeper decline pathways for coal as determined by the IEA and IPCC to stay within 1.5°C climate goals, even with overshoot.
- Glencore is undertaking several significant coal expansion activities in Australia, including a new greenfield coal mine.
- Glencore is underreporting its fugitive methane emissions from coal mining in Australia, and Scope 3 emissions from its investments.
- Glencore has failed to commit capital expenditure to reducing its operational and Scope 3 emissions, including renewable energy investments.
- Glencore is the 8th most obstructive company blocking climate policy action globally, and remains one of the few diversified miners still promoting thermal coal.
Proxinvest Against The 2021 AGM backed Glencore’s Climate Action Transition Plan (94% of the votes FOR). This year, the resolution offers shareholders an advisory vote on the group’s activities and progress against the Climate Action Transition Plan (Climate Progress Report published on 2 December 2021). The updated figures for emissions reductions performance data and capital allocation expenditure are included in the Annual report (p. 20-23).

The Pathway to Net Zero: 2021 Progress Report details the steps Glencore took during the year to identify and implement emission reduction opportunities and to make progress in the seven priority areas identified in its climate strategy. This report also includes a full discussion of Glencore's approach to climate change governance, risk management and engagement with industry organisations.

Glencore is one of the world’s largest diversified natural resource companies. It recognises its key role in enabling the global transition to a low carbon economy.

In 2021, Glencore strengthened its medium-term emissions reduction target and introduced a new short-term target. It is now committed to reducing absolute emissions (Scope 1+2+3) by 15% by 2026 and 50% by 2035, both on 2019 levels. Post 2035, the group’s ambition remains to achieve net zero total emissions by 2050 with a supportive policy environment. Net Zero in 2050 includes the use of offsets for the residual hard to abate emissions. Glencore net-zero trajectory is expected to rely on offset for 5Mt of CO2e.

The group uses the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios to illustrate its compliance with the net zero ambition. The 2026 target lies within the range of IPCC’s 1.5ºC scenarios and the 2035 target aligns to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE 2050), which is consistent with IPCC Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 1-1.9.

The Chief Executive Officer is the named executive for driving the climate strategy within the Board. A new Climate Change Taskforce (CCT) is accountable to the Board of Directors. Its members include the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Head of Industrial Assets and General Counsel, as well as representatives from key corporate functions, including investor relations, finance and sustainable development.


Summary of the climate change strategy


Sector Diversified mining; Coal; Aluminium

Climate Action 100+ focused company Yes, no commitment to align

Sustainability reporting 2021 Climate Report, 2020 Sustainability report

TCFD Disclosure Yes

External verification of the sustainability reporting Yes

Ambition net-zero by 2050 or sooner Yes

Long-term (2036-2050) GHG reduction target(s) Yes

Medium-term (2026-2035) GHG reduction target(s) Yes

Short-term (up to 2025) GHG reduction target(s) Yes (2026)

Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) commitment No

Just Transition commitment Yes


Glencore performance in 2021


Scope 1 15.0 18.3

Scope 2 10.8 11.1

Scope 3 254 344

We note that compared to 2020, Scope 1 and 2 emissions increased due to increased production volumes. During 2021, Glencore emitted 15.0 million tonnes CO2e of Scope 1 (2020: 14.8 million tonnes). In 2021, it emitted 10.8 million tonnes CO2 of Scope 2 location-based (2020: 9.4 million tonnes). However, Scope 1 and 2 emissions have decreased by 13% from the baseline year of 2019.

The most significant contributor to Scope 3 emissions (90% of the total) is Glencore's customers’ usage of the produced fossil fuels (predominantly coal). The total Scope 3 emissions in 2021 were 254 million tonnes CO2e, compared to 271 million tonnes CO2e in 2020. The decrease was principally due to pandemic-driven lower coal volumes. The group expects Scope 3 emissions to rise in 2022 with the unwinding of such cuts, and remains committed to delivering emissions reductions of at least 15% by 2026 from the 2019 baseline. This corresponds to an arithmetical average reduction of 2.5% per year, which may look weak.

We strongly disapprove the proposed approach. The group has already reached a 25% reduction in its total CO2e emissions. Therefore, the proposed short-term target allows for increasing emissions, which does not comply with the group's pronounced objective to tackle climate change.

The group's customers’ usage of the produced fossil fuels (mainly coal) totalled 237 million tonnes CO2e (2020: 253 million tonnes CO2e), being around 93% of its total Scope 3 emissions.

Furthermore, we disagree with the possibility to restate the 2019 baseline. We can find in the 2021 Progress Report that the baseline was restated to account for 100% ownership of Cerrejón from 2019, in line with Greenhouse Gas Protocol requirements. Due to the decision by Prodeco to cease operations and relinquish its licenses and pending the outcome of the relinquishment process, the baseline has not been restated to exclude Prodeco. Glencore’s 2019 emission data is unchanged but will be restated for acquisitions and disposals following the completion of the transactions in 2022.

We also regret that Glencore has not currently committed to having a science-based target validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Glencore clarifies that, at the time of writing, the SBTi methodologies are not applicable for diversified companies as they rely on intensity measures that are too complex to be applied to diversified, cross commodity companies. The SBTi’s methodology works on a single commodity or a single business, but is not applicable for multi-product businesses.

The group states that its 2026 target lies within the range of IPCC’s 1.5 degree scenarios and its 2035 target is aligned with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE 2050), which is consistent with IPCC SSP1-1.9. The group’s targets and ambition go beyond the International Council on Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) collective commitments as set out in October 2021. In our view, this type of self-declaration is not sufficient by itself and external science-based validation should be searched by the company.

Glencore committed to report annually on its progress on targets and ambition. It has actively engaged with the investor-led initiative, Climate Action 100+ and its
forerunner, Aiming for A, for a number of years. The group continued to engage with suppliers and customers on climate-related matters.

Glencore has identified seven core pathways to meet its targets:

-- Managing the operational footprint by reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

-- Reducing Scope 3 emissions through investing in metals portfolio, reducing coal production and supporting the deployment of low emission technologies.

-- Allocating capital to prioritise transition metals by investing in the commodities the world needs.

-- Supporting uptake and integration of abatement is considered an essential contributor to achieving low – or net zero carbon objectives. The development and deployment of these mechanisms require collective action.

-- Utilising technology to improve resource use efficiency and contribute to the circular economy, but technological developments are required to meet these ambitions.

-- Transparent approach by reporting on the group’s progress and performance.

-- Transparent approach by reporting on the group’s progress and performance.


Coal portfolio


The group's approach to coal assets is to continue to operate its mines until they reach the end of their lives.

Due to Covid-19 and the decline in global economic activity, coal production fell to 103.3 million tonnes, 3% lower than 2020. This decline also reflects Prodeco’s care and maintenance status and lower domestic power demand / export rail capacity constraints in South Africa. However, Cerrejón had higher production than in 2020. Compared to 2019, the 2021 coal production was 26% lower. In 2021, the group also bought out a number of minority joint venture (JV) partners in Australian operations.

However, we can read that Glencore acquired Anglo Americans and BHP's parts (two-thirds) in the Cerrejon joint-venture in January 2022, becoming a 100% owner. Glencore plans to increase the coal production up to 121+-5 mt in 2022 (+22% compared to 2021). The group will continue to operate the Cerrejon site until the progressive expiry of the current mining concessions by 2034. Production volumes are expected to decline materially only from 2030.

The 2026 target is so low that despite such a high increase in the near-term production, Glencore declares to remain on track to deliver a 15% reduction of its total emissions by 2026 on the baseline of 2019.


Proxinvest assessment


We appreciate that Glencore annually reports on the progress made and proposes the Climate progress report for shareholder approval. We congratulated Glencore for offering this Say-on-Climate vote in 2021 and its ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Unfortunately, we have serious concerns about actions taken by Glencore to accomplish the approved 2021 Climate Action Transition Plan (Last year, Proxinvest recommended not to approve this Plan which was not seen as challenging enough). Proxinvest deeply regrets that the proposed targets are not science-based. According to Climate Action 100+, the group’s targets are not aligned with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Glencore has also declined to respond to Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) on climate change since 2017 and, therefore, obtained the lowest score (F).

We see an increase in Scope 1 and 2 emissions in 2021. The proposed 2026 target is overwhelming, allowing the group to increase emissions from the 2021 level significantly. If the group has chosen one of the highest levels as its baseline (the 2019 baseline was one of the highest levels of its GHG emissions), the set targets should reflect it accordingly. Furthermore, we consider it questionable that the set baseline can be adjusted.

Climate Action 100+ states that Glencore has not explicitly committed to aligning its capital expenditure with its long-term GHG reduction target or phase out planned expenditure in unabated carbon-intensive assets or products.

We also note that Influence Map provides Glencore with a low Lobbing score D (https://lobbymap.org/company/Glencore-International/projectlink/Glencore-International-In-Climate-Change). According to Influence Map, Glencore appears broadly unsupportive of immediate action on climate change, and continues to support a sustained role for coal in the energy mix. Glencore also retains membership in a network of industry associations that engage negatively on various strands of climate change policy.

We agree with the Influence Map analysis that Glencore continues to promote a sustained role for coal in the global energy mix. In its 2021 Climate Report, CEO Gary Nagle supported a "phase down" of coal in the energy mix in line with the Glasgow Climate Pact, but stated that coal would be required to support global energy needs in the short term.

Glencore decided to terminate its membership with the World Coal Association in 2022, which we welcome. Nevertheless, it’s not sufficient. The group still has other strong links to several industry associations offensive to climate change policy.

PRI warns investors voting on Climate transition plans about the greenwashing risks in approval plans that lack crucial information or cannot be verified against a scientifically robust framework by an independent party. Voting for a management proposal without proper appraisal of the transition plan could be detrimental to delivering sufficient climate action.

Proxinvest commends Glencore's ambition to tackle climate change and become net zero by 2050. However, we do not consider the current group’s effort sufficient and aligned with the Paris agreement. On the contrary, the 2026 target allows the group to increase coal production and, therefore, increase its CO2e in comparison to currently achieved levels in 2021. We consider that Glencore should set a reasonable coal production volume cap aligned with its aim to tackle climate change.

Finally, we believe that negative votes would encourage Glencore to enhance its efforts in aligning with net-zero emissions by 2050 as the latest date.

In line with our voting policy and based on the concerns expressed above, we recommend to OPPOSE.
EFG Asset Management Against There are concerns over the Company's activities around thermal coal, which accounts for the majority of its Scope 3 emissions.

Further, the Company s lobbying would appear to run counter to the Paris goals, as highlighted by Glencore having been identified as one of the ten most obstructive companies in terms of global climate policy action.
Anima Sgr Against
CoreCommodity Management, LLC Against
Universities Superannuation Scheme - USS Against We have concerns about the Company’s management of risks associated with the transition to a lower carbon economy and the alignment of its business model with the Paris Agreement.