Glencore fails lessons in how to greenwash grubby old coal


Glencore fails lessons in how to greenwash grubby old coal

Not the first time it has been behind the times. It has snail-trailed on diversity, governance and reducing debt

Resource company results come slathered in greenwash these days. Swiss mining and trading giant Glencore ( was the latest to wield the paint brush, delivering earnings after a tough year. The mining and trading business is touting a projected 30% reduction in carbon emissions, including those of its customers, by 2035. 

Tough boss Ivan Glasenberg thinks targets to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, such as that set by BP last week, lack conviction. But you could say the same of his own mission, which depends on running down some coal and oil assets to near zero. Some commodity giants plan to sell their mines instead. Though coal still generated $900m of first-half earnings of $12.1bn, BHP talks of dumping these assets. Rio Tinto has already kicked coal out of its portfolio.

The Swiss-based group maintains that it is green, not dirty, by producing commodities set for stellar growth in a low-carbon economy such as copper, nickel and cobalt. The fear is that coal, its planet-trashing cash cow, is irreplaceable. Coal has the highest margins of any commodity in Glencore’s portfolio. It generated 31% of group earnings in 2019. Asian demand is ballooning. ..

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