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Church of England ups ante against anti-climate lobby

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By Reuters
Church of England ups ante against anti-climate lobby
FILE PHOTO: A child carries a sign during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration in London, Britain, October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls   -   Copyright  HENRY NICHOLLS(Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) – Ethical investors, including the Church of England, plan to extend their campaign for miners and other big businesses to stop funding industry associations that block progress on U.N. goals to curb climate change, they said on Tuesday.

Shareholders of BHP <BHP.AX> <BHPB.L>, the world’s biggest listed miner, voted at meetings in October and November against a resolution to suspend the global miner’s membership in some industry groups, saying it was effectively paying the pro-coal lobby.

Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement at the Church of England, told the Mines and Money conference in London on Tuesday he and other investors, representing large pension funds, would extend their campaign.

“We’re really concerned incumbency is preventing the speed up towards a supportive regulatory environment,” Matthews said.

He said investors planned to draw up more resolutions and would focus on the chemical and transport industries, as well as the natural resources sector, in cases where companies that accept U.N. goals on climate change are “misaligned” with industry bodies to which they subscribe.

Fiona Reynolds, CEO of the Principles for Responsible Investment, which is campaigning alongside the Church of England, said in an emailed statement that negative corporate lobbying was a major reason for the slow progress towards action to limit temperature rises.

“It’s completely unreasonable that companies use shareholder money to fund groups that do not act in investors’ long term interests,” she said.

The ethical investors approve of some industry groups and are working with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), which includes the world’s biggest miners, to deliver a global standard on dams that store mining waste, known as tailings.

The ICMM has admitted mining has work to do to earn the trust of investors and says its members will begin implementing revised sustainability principles, which include measures to protect the climate and environment, next year.

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Dan Grebler)