Co-conveners of the Global Tailings Review (GTR) – the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) – have endorsed the first Global Industry Standard on Tailings Dams.

GTR said the global standard, which is due to be launched next month, will establish “much needed robust requirements for the safer management of both existing and new tailings facilities globally”.

In a joint statement, Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board (CEPB), and John Howchin, from the Council of Ethics of the Swedish National Pension Funds, said:

“For decades people have called for a global standard that can drive best practice. It is tragic that it has taken the Brumadinho disaster to make this happen.”

Early last year the two organisations called for a new industry standard that would drive best practice to address the risk of tailings facility failure.

“We have been assured by the Global Tailings Review’s independent expert panel that if this standard had been in place, the disaster at Brumadinho would not have happened,” they stated.

In April 2019 the CEPB and Sweden’s AP funds wrote to nearly 700 listed mining companies with an “urgent request” for information about their management of tailings dam facilities.

The duo said: “We expect all mining companies to comply with this framework, and responsible investors looking to address the risks of tailings failure now have a responsibility to drive implementation, incorporating the standard into stewardship and active ownership strategies.”

According to GTR, the next steps are to finalise reports that will provide additional detail, context, background and recommendations on the standard.

The standard will be published once it has been translated and all accompanying documents are ready. GTR expects to publish these in the coming weeks.

UK’s NEST backs calls at Tesco AGM to disclose sales of healthy products

NEST, a UK defined contribution provider, has joined ShareAction’s call on Tesco to disclose the proportion of its sales made up by healthy food and drink products.

The investors also urged the food retailer to set ambitious targets to increase these sales over time.

The question was submitted to Tesco today at its annual general meeting, which did not take place physically due to social distancing restrictions.

A similar commitment has already been made by other large UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and M&S, ShareAction disclosed.

This request to Tesco follows the publication of a review of UK supermarkets’ plans to improve the nation’s diets earlier this year.

The report found significant gaps in supermarkets’ public commitments and actions to help people eat balanced diets and tackle childhood obesity.

Tesco came third with information being found on only 30% of indicators across topics such as product formulation, responsible marketing, affordability, clear labelling and corporate governance, the report found.

The ongoing pandemic has highlighted the critical importance tackling childhood obesity and supporting public health, ShareAction said.

As part of its ongoing Healthy Markets’ campaign, backed by investors with $1trn (€885bn), ShareAction is asking supermarkets to define and publish comprehensive nutrition and health strategies to drive healthier food and drink consumption.

Mais Callan, senior responsible investment manager at NEST and member of the Healthy Markets coalition, said: “There’s a growing demand from governments to tackle the issue of obesity and a consumer trend towards healthier products.”

She said that evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic is showing that people with obesity-linked conditions are more likely to suffer serious complications. “Health is emerging as a key investment risk.”

She added: “We’re supporting ShareAction’s question because we think companies like Tesco have an important role to play in promoting a healthier product range.”

First ever majority win at Chevron to align with Paris Agreement

Climate Action 100+ has said that a 53% majority of shareholders at Chevron Corp. voted for a resolution seeking a commitment from the oil giant to align its lobbying activities on climate policy with the goal of the Paris Agreement, which is to keep global average temperature rise to well-below 2°C with the aim of limiting it to 1.5°C.

Filed by Climate Action 100+ investor signatory BNP Paribas Asset Management, this was the first climate-related proposal ever to win a majority of Chevron shareholder votes and it was the only proposal on Chevron’s 2020 proxy ballot that won a majority.

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