Church of England scheme gives ultimatum to mining companies – by Stephanie Hawthorne (Pensions Expert – April 5, 2019)

On the go: In the wake of the collapse of the tailings dam in Brumadinho, Brazil, which killed at least 84 people and left hundreds missing, 96 institutional investors have been stirred into action.

In an urgent letter, investors, led by the Church of England Pensions Board, have given mining companies 45 days to provide full disclosure on tailings storage facilities under their control. It requests that companies publish the disclosure on their websites within 45 days and ensure that the disclosure is signed by the company’s chief executive or board chair.

The letter, sent on April 5 to 683 listed extractives companies by the CofE Pensions Board and the Swedish Council on Ethics for the AP Funds, is supported by 96 investors with $10.3tn (£7.9tn) in assets under management, including Aegon, Aviva and Hermes. The engagement is also supported by the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.

Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement for the CofE Pensions Board and the co-lead on the investor mining and tilings safety initiative, said: “These disclosures will drive a new level of accountability and transparency within the mining sector and will form the basis of further interventions as investors continue our engagement following the tragedy of Brumadinho.

“It is essential that investors can establish a clear line of sight on which company has which tailings facility and how that facility is being managed. The current disclosures from companies are largely inadequate.”

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