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Investors in World’s Top Coal Shipper Pass Climate-Change Motion

Updated on
  • Glencore shareholders vote for disclosure on risks to business
  • Miner says coal remains ‘energy of choice’ in emerging markets

Glencore Plc investors agreed that the largest exporter of coal burned for power should provide more information on risks to its business from growing levels of government legislation to tackle climate change.

Shareholders at an annual meeting in Zug, Switzerland, on Thursday voted 98 percent in favor of requiring more information on public-policy positions and actions Glencore takes on greenhouse gas pollution.

Such proposals are championed by the Aiming for A coalition of fund managers, which already secured resolutions at BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has also expressed support.

"The board fully supports this resolution," Chairman Tony Hayward said. "We want to engage and work with the coalition on what we all recognize will be a multi-year journey."

A growing number of investors and regulators are considering whether untapped deposits of oil, gas and coal around the world, valued at trillions of dollars and controlled by some of the biggest resource companies, will be stranded as nations seek to curb climate change. Glencore is the largest exporter of thermal coal with interests in about 30 operating coal mines in Australia, South Africa and Colombia.

Renewable Sources

With almost 20 percent of Glencore’s energy needs coming from renewable sources, the company will look for ways to deploy renewable energy at its operations, where it makes commercial sense, Hayward said. Glencore is working to develop clean-coal technologies as it wants to cater for growing coal demand in regions such as Southeast Asia, Hayward said.

While the U.S. and Europe are burning less coal, there’s a "strong probability" of rising demand in Southeast Asia, he said. The fuel is a growing part of energy use across most of the region where low-cost gas isn’t available, he said.

“Our assets, particularly those in Australia, are well placed to satisfy that demand,” Hayward said. "Coal remains the energy of choice for the emerging world and there is a reason for that. It’s cheap and readily available. It’s lifted billions of people out of poverty and will continue to do so."

The fuel accounts for almost 20 percent of its industrials revenue and 3 percent of the company’s earnings before interest and taxes, Jefferies LLC estimates.

Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.

— With assistance by Jess Shankleman, and Jesse Riseborough

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