EUROPE - The four Swedish AP pension buffer funds and Dutch asset manager APG have filed a joint resolution calling for an independent environment expert to join the board of mining company Freeport McMoran.
The AP Swedish national pension funds (AP1-4) and APG have now tabled the resolution for a second time.
At last year's Annual General Meeting (AGM), the proposal received 32.5% of the votes and was supported by the New York City Pension Funds. (See earlier IPE article: Pension funds push for expert on mining board)
At the AGM held later today, the pension funds are calling for at least one candidate to be appointed as a board director that has a "high level of expertise" and "experience in environmental matters relevant to mining".
The resolution argues environmental expertise is critical to the success of mining companies, as a failure to match internationally accepted standards can lead to difficulties in accessing capital for new projects.
Freeport has faced criticism over its actions at the Grasberg mine, which caused it to be one of the first exclusions from the Norway Government Pension Fund Global's investment universe. (See earlier IPE article: Norway excludes Rio Tinto over environmental damage)
The AP funds and APG claimed the appointment of an independent environment expert would allow Freeport to address environmental issues inherent in its business more effectively, while also strengthening the company's ability to "demonstrate the seriousness with which it is addressing environmental issues".
A spokesman for APG said the previous resolution in 2009 received 32.5% of the votes and that, while not a majority, the result was an "unprecedented success" for resolutions of this kind in the US.
"Freeport's management decided in 2009 not to implement the resolution. So this year, we tabled it again, this time joining forces with several Swedish pension funds and a US pension fund."